A Drop in the Bucket


Happy Friday! It’s time for the MFRW 52 week blog hop for 2018!

Welcome to week 7: Top5 Things on My Bucket List


Let’s get right to it then, shall we? I never really put much stock into a bucket list until last year, when I thought I had waited too long. All sorts of images from worst case scenario to the ten worst possibilities flooded my mind. I thought that the first thing on my list would never get accomplished, and if I was lucky I might be able to do number 3 and 5.

Prior to my surgery I actually sat down and made a list of the things I wanted to accomplish or experience before I kicked off, or kicked the bucket. As that day seemed rapidly approaching, I spent most of those days in tears not knowing how I would be able to do any of them.

I’ve mentioned it before, but yes I tend to be overly dramatic at times. It’s kind of difficult not to when you get the big C diagnosis. I have been intensely focused on the first one, and this year I plan to make a serious dent in the first one, second one, and the 5th one. (I’m really pulling for all 5,  but hope to complete #2 and #5 this year!)

Ellie’s Top 5 Bucket List Items

  1. Publish 20 of my books. I have a huge file of partially completed and completed stories that I have been clinging to, reluctant to release my babies. Then what did I write them for? Why do I write in the first place?  To entertain others. How is anyone going to enjoy them when they are squirreled away in a locked file?
  2. Decorate my home the way I want!  I spent many years, trying to pease my mother, trying to win the approval of my mother in law.  I spent so long trying to fit in with everyone else,  I didn’t put things on my wall that I like. Currently,  we have very little on the walls. I can’t really use the excuse of we just painted because we painted over 5 years ago. I need to minimize the clutter in my home and organize, and put up minimum decorations in this house, in order to sell.  But when we move, Katy Bar the Door! I’ve got some great ideas saved on Pinterest.
  3. Travel!!! Nova Scotia, Western Caribbean, Hawaii, Scotland, Ireland, Italy, Venice, Rome, Australia – not sure I want to go to the outback and experience the wildlife like black mambas – crikey! There are places in the US that I haven’t been to yet, and I want to go. The Badlands, Grand Canyon, and many others!
  4. Be the Keynote Speaker at an Author Event. Someday. I have done public speaking before,  that’s not the challenge.  The challenge is to do it for other writers. It will be so much more fun than speaking of scientific type stuff.
  5. MY OWN OFFICE!!!!  Let me clarify, my own home office. If you’ve read last week’s post about the office you will understand. And here is where we have the hole in the bucket.

What do you think?  Do you think they are attainable? How about you? what are some of the items on your bucket list?

As this is a blog hop, there are many other authors who are participating.  You can check them out HERE: when I scheduled this,  the list wasn’t up yet so hopefully you will be able to go there and get the fresh list.

Write on my friends, write on!

 

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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!

This Year’s Plan


You may have noticed my absence. I got one post in for this year’s 52 week blog hop and then I got hit with the flu. Along with feeling ill,  I’ve been uber frustrated with not getting my blog up. Sorry guys and gals!

This is the first time I have ever gotten a flu shot,  at the direction of my oncologist and I got the flu anyway. *Levels look*

The past few days I haven’t been online because I have been tackling the decluttering/organizing for our home that is at the top of my goals for this year. OK, part of this is avoiding the anxiety I am having over my scheduled mammogram –  the first since my diagnosis last year.

Timeout for a sec:  It is my intention to avoid talking about cancer,  to stay focused on the present,  the future, and not give any more attention to the hell that was last year. Having said that,  ultimately this is the cause of my current anxiety because I sure didn’t expect the diagnosis last time.

I’ve removed 5 bags of stuff- clothing, bedding, linens, miscellaneous stuff to take to Goodwill,  but it’s still sitting by the front door as it’s been too cold to get out if I didn’t have to. It’s going to be warmer tomorrow,  so it goes bye bye with me when I leave!!

I think that is a fair amount of progress for this week, that equates to a full trash bag per day!  I’ve been too embarrassed at the mess – seriously,  the whole time I was going through treatments,  it was all I could do to cook a few meals,  to sweep the floor on occasion, and swish the toilet. Since nobody else bothered, the accumulation of stuff is overwhelming.

Stuffitis is a serious issue here. But this year,  2018 –  the Year of the Dog, we are going with close to austere existence.  Minimalism is my new favorite word.

In fact, I’ve been pondering my word for this year.  I’ve seen several of my friends post here or there that their word for the year is. *fill in the blank*. I didn’t have a word.  I was looking for something spiritual I think, but yesterday it hit me like a 12-pound bowling ball on a rope –MINIMIZE!

  • Minimize the clutter and stuff.
  • Minimize the clothes that no longer fit or suit me.
  • Minimize the pantry contents.
  • Minimize my schedule.
  • Minimize my measurements –  making progress on that one!!!!
  • Minimize the emotional baggage I’ve been carrying.
  • Minimize wasted time.

Yeah, I’m pretty sure I figured out that this is my word for the year.

So for this year on the blog,  I have a few things planned but I’m not promising that I won’t go off track.

There may be recipe shares, craft shares, writing shares,  health and diet information. ( I found a couple really interesting things I want to share.)

So,  I realize we are in the third week of January –  but my first two weeks have been mostly occupied with sickness.  So, here’s hoping for a great year –  for all of us!

Write on my friends, write on!

 

 

 

What Awaits in 2018? #MFRW


Week 52 – the last, final post for 2017 blog challenge.

Colorful fireworks over a night sky

I gave up on New Year’s Resolutions several years ago,  but I do set goals for myself for the coming year. What’s the difference? A resolution is something you hope happens.  A goal, a smart goal is something you set for yourself with a specific framework and a deadline.

This past year – 2017 my goals were as effective as resolutions. Why? CANCER.

I’ll admit, I didn’t see that one coming.  I let it derail me. I was shocked, stunned, reeling from the diagnosis. Then the whirlwind of prompt action from the doctors had my head spinning. The only time doctors act swiftly is when it’s a serious matter,  so I felt an additional stress imagining the worst –  what if it was stage 4, what if it had metastasized, what if . . .  but it wasn’t the case. THANK GOD, mine wasn’t nearly as bad as some. Praise the Lord –  it was found early.

The point is though,  they were swift in all their actions and then rushed me to treatment. I barely had time to think. It was the next appointment, the next treatment.  I lost control of my life from March through August.

In August, I evaluated where I was in comparison to the goals I had set for myself and cried. Seriously,  I just sat there crying for nearly an hour before I decided to do something about it. Then I looked at what I could do and pushed myself to get Roxy completely revised so that I would have at least one book for Penned Con.

I did manage to lose some weight, although the goal I had set for myself was 50 pounds,  I have lost 46 pounds. Still a win! (It was a 48 but I had extra portions over the holidays.)

From September through now, it’s been a difficult battle with dropping pounds as the medication that I have to take is known to cause weight gain. In addition to my slow fat storing metabolism,  I now have an additional obstacle, but I’m winning, slowly!

I had set a goal for myself to read 100 books this year, didn’t make that one.  I have read 25. Most of those have been hard copy print books. The ability to focus was lost during treatments. Chemo brain is a very real thing. So, I’m cutting myself some slack and counting this as a win as well because I have managed to read most of those since August.

What about 2018?

What goals will I set for myself this coming year?

  1. Publish 5 books in 2018: Valkyries Curse: The Awakening, Book 2: Trial of Aegir, and Realm WArs book 1 –  I haven’t decided on a title for that one yet. This is the precursor to Faere Warrior: Passion’s Price – which has been finished for ages,  but held back because my former media coach advised me to write the prequel first. In addition,  the release of The Blood Key in a fantasy anthology, then I will release in paperback in September. And one other one – I may have to do a poll with my readers to see which one they are more interested in because I can’t decide.
  2. Continue with healthy eating and lose 40 more pounds.
  3. MOVE! We plan to move closer to where my husband works because now he commutes for an hour each way. I have discovered one major flaw in our moving plans,  they don’t have a community pool in that area, so my aquacize classes will be gone. My solution?  We need a pool of our own! (You like how I worked that in there?  You think I could maybe get a tax write off for medical therapy??)
  4. Finally get my office! We’ve been through this before, I’ve worked hard to clean an area in the basement, shared pictures on here then it was promptly taken over for another use. Can’t even tell you how pissed off it made me. Then with cancer, I honestly didn’t have the energy to fight it.
  5. Enjoy living! Carve out time to spend with ones I love and care about, do the things I enjoy, have some fun in life! This will become a priority because I am prone to get overwhelmed with all the things that should happen that I forget to enjoy everyday life. Stress less and live more!

That’s it. Those are my goals for this next year. Not a twenty point bulletin of overachiever perfection. Not a ten point attack on every area of my life. Not even a 12 month, 12 item list of things I’d like to see happen. Simple, basic, achievable yet challenging goals that will improve our quality of life.

Cancer changes things.  It really made me see how much time I waste on fretting over things that don’t really matter, conceding on things that do matter to me, and wishing I had more time for what really matters –  the people in our lives.

What about you? What are your 2018 goals and dreams? Not going to say resolutions, because we blow those before the end of January!

You can find the other authors participating in this blog hop HERE!

This post is included in the prize drawing for the flash fiction fest –  so leave your comment!  All commenters are entered in drawing for this week’s prizes. (See post yesterday for the list of prizes, I don’t feel like typing it in yet again!) All entries will be put through randompicker and the winner will be selected!

Best wishes to each of you, and have a Happy New Year!

Write on my friends, write on!

That’s A Win!


Welcome to Flash Fest December!

I have a few 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
  • ebook for Red Wine & Roses
  • Author Swag bag
  • ebook of Protected By His Grace by Grace Augustine

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. The winner can contact me on Facebook or email me at: l.e.mcatee@gmail.com.

I apologize for not getting it posted on Monday, it’s been a rough couple of days.

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!

I am still posting for the MFRW blog hop on Fridays and the WEWRIWA on Sundays. The comments on those posts count as well!

MFRW blog hop week 50 – My Biggest  Accomplishment.

You know,  just when I think I got this in the bag,  they throw a wrench into my gears.

Uh, give me a few minutes to figure this one out.  Have a cup of coffee, a few snacks while I fish out the wrench.

I was going to post this animated short about a guy trying to fix an engine and tossing all sorts of parts around,  but then I saw Harry and well. . . I’m partial.

~~~~~~~

I think that my biggest accomplishment, pertaining to being an author was getting my first book published. It was the barrier that I just couldn’t seem to break through, then a small print publisher showed interest in me. I was over the moon ecstatic!

I’ve learned a lot about the business of writing, about publishing, marketing – got a lot more to learn on the marketing front. I will always be grateful that they published me!

Fast forward, the small publishing house and I have parted ways, and I’ve published 2 more books.  Most of what I learned through this experience, helped me have the confidence to publish the others. There is definitely some satisfaction in each one,  but getting past that first barrier . . . well, I spent years submitting my work to multiple publishers, large houses and small, and I was on the verge of quitting and shelving my dreams permanently.

In my personal life, you already know what I’m going to say. You knew it was coming so I’m just going to lay it out there –  I beat cancer! So far! I am 7 months cancer free, but they won’t say a survivor until you’ve been clear for 3 years.  I have 2 years and 5 months to go! This year has changed my life profoundly, it would take an entire year to tell you every aspect that has been affected by this diagnosis.

It helped me sort my priorities.  I made myself a priority – something that was foreign to me as a mom and caregiver. I had neglected me for many years. I made my health a priority.  I’ve lost 42 pounds so far this year. I guess there is hope that I might squeeze in a few more for the year, but I count that as a win also.  I eat a healthy diet now that is cancer patient friendly. Very limited in carbs, zero sugar, (not counting fruit –  I eat fresh fruit), and packed full of phytonutrients.

My skin is clearer than it has been for years.  My hair,  well I have hair, hallelujah!  It’s a different look for sure,  but . . . I’m cancer free.

This picture was taken in 2015 at my sister’s wedding. Doesn’t the hubs look sexy as hell in a suit????  We both clean up pretty good on occasion.

 

 

This was the back. I miss my long hair.

 

 

 

 

 

Then cancer treatment took over my life:

Still adjusting to this new look. Sorry for the no makeup shock – I guess there should have been a warning!

OH, and if you were wondering what to get me for Christmas,  ear muffs, sock caps, hats, and those crochet bands that cover ears would be great! I’m not used to my ears being exposed. I don’t know how guys do it!

I’m exercising regularly.  Not running marathons or anything super strenuous,  I’m doing an aquacise class and loving it.  45 minutes of cardio a day for four to five days a week. It was one of the things recommended for cancer patients,  that is easy on the joints.  I haven’t talked about it too much,  but the tamoxifen causes joint pain.  There are days I’m nearly in tears. It’s a constant reminder for me to drop the excess weight and continue on a healthy road and to eat right.

I’ve eliminated environmental toxins from our home, from our food, from anywhere that I can control. I don’t eat processed foods – no sausage, bacon or anything with carcinogens. No lunchmeats, hot dogs, bologna, processed cheese, or Doritos. ( Yeah, I even gave up my Doritos.) I don’t eat the processed cereal, prepackaged anything.  The closest to processed that we get is an occasional splurge by buying chicken strips from the deli.

I’m making meditation, prayer time, mental health a priority to reduce stress. I spend a lot of my time driving back and forth to lymphedema therapy and doctors appointments. I have good music in the car that is relaxing to me, as well as audiobooks.

I’m making my goals and dreams a priority and not pressuring myself with ridiculous schedules. I see some authors bragging about running on the frazzled edge all of the time. They have more books out than me,  but you know what? I’m at peace.

I can do what I can do,  and do my best every day. Somedays my best is managing to get to appointments, maybe get  100 words down, a little bit of housework done. Somedays I can go 90 to nothing for a short time. Then there are those days when I can manage to feed myself and have my wits about me.  I have learned to accept that on those days I need rest.  On those days, I can’t push.

I have learned to take care of me.  When I am at my best,  then I can give out to others and be a blessing to them. But if I am depleted,  I have nothing to give.

I think I have to change my biggest accomplishment –  it’s not getting my first book published, it’s learning to take care of myself so that I can be a blessing to others.

Call me a sentimental sap if you will. I’ve learned a lot this past year. Being the true strong-willed person and blockhead,  I had to learn it the hard way. Lessons learned the hard way are not soon forgotten!  I can honestly say that I have a better quality of life than I did before the cancer diagnosis.

Now if I could just say the same for the state of my home. Maybe I’ll tackle the clutter for a bit before I start wrapping gifts.

What would you say that your biggest accomplishment is?  As always, you can find the other MFRW blog hop participants HERE.

Write on my friends, write on.

Secret Recipes and Family Favorites


This week’s MFRW blog hop post  – week 49 – A Favorite Recipe.

Being a lifelong foodie, my recent dietary changes have eliminated a lot of my favorites. It’s hard to choose just one, so I will give you a few categories.

Sherri’s Secret Salad – a lady at our church  (Sherri) prides herself on this salad. Everyone loves it, including me.  She has sworn the recipe to secrecy so that you will buy the bottled dressing from her. The funny thing is,  I wasn’t aware of that when I first tasted her salad and copied it. I can generally figure out a recipe by taste most of the time. I figured it out pretty closely, but alas it has sugar in the dressing so I have to figure out something else.

Salad base:

  • romaine lettuce, chopped
  • red onion, sliced very thin
  • cherry tomatoes, sliced in halve
  • iceburg lettuce, chopped ( I prefer to use buttercrunch myself)
  • cucumber, peeled, chopped
  • carrot shreds
  • shredded cheddar

The dressing:

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 3/4 cup Italian dressing bottled
  • 1/4 cup wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 TBSP additional Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 cup sugar

Combine dressing ingredients, whisk together and pour over salad. Toss gently and serve. Guess it’s not a secret anymore,  but I can’t guarantee that is exactly the recipe she follows.

Yeast rolls – I make homemade yeast rolls every year for Thanksgiving and Christmas and occasionally other times in the year. I can’t have any,  but I still make them for the family. White bread more than other bread sends my blood sugar soaring, so I have to bypass. There is just something satisfying about kneading bread.  I follow the Betty Crocker recipe in an old tattered book that I received as a wedding present 32 years ago! I’m sure you can find it online, look up dinner rolls.

Rosemary and garlic potatoes – again, one of my favorites but I can’t do potatoes anymore because it affects my blood sugar. (Another thing I can thank cancer for!)

Super simple –

  • red potatoes  – scrub them, cutting out eyes and any bad spots.
  • yellow onion – cut into coarse chunks and separate.
  • rinse in cold water.
  • Put into large bowl and drizzle generously with olive oil.
  • Add 1 tsp salt or sea salt, 1 tsp black pepper, 2 tsp minced garlic
  • one stem of rosemary leaves, rake leaves off of stem from tip to base. Fresh is best,  the dried is like eating twigs.

Roast in oven at 375 for about 40 minutes.

Lasagna – I’ve often had requests for my lasagna. I don’t have some guarded family secret.  I use ingredients from Aldi – the secret is in the seasoning.

Find the Betty Crocker recipe online – when you make your meat sauce, add a little more garlic,  some additional Italian seasoning,  and fresh basil. If there’s any secret,  that is it. Basil is amazing.

Tonight, in fact, I am making lasagna. However, since pasta is on my no-no list, I am making zucchini lasagna. This is tricky to an old-fashioned pasta fiend such as me.

Instead of lasagna noodles, buy 3 to 4 zucchini. You can peel or leave the skin on – your choice.  I peeled mine so it wasn’t such a shock to the family. Cut the stem end and bottom end off. Slice lengthwise into thin strips, so you have long skinny lasagna “noodles”. Have your pan of boiling water at a full boil before dropping them in, and you only want to parboil them, then drain on a paper towel. Otherwise, they end up mushy and the only thing worse than mushy is gooey.

Everything else is the same in the recipe, except I omit the pinch of sugar I normally add to my marinara. Add a little parsley to cut down on indigestion if needed.

I’ve only tried this with the lasagna once before, so let’s hope that it works!

My all-time favorite dessert – brownies, just aren’t’ the same without sugar. I’m still searching for a palatable sugar-free alternative. I’ve tried a dozen or so paleo, sugar-free, carb free, and otherwise craptastic recipes. Most have ended up in the trash.

So, since you, my wonderful readers aren’t restricted to a no sugar diet, I will share the full recipe that I have always used. This recipe has won baking contests!

Best Brownies

(I usually double this)

Ingredients

  •  1/2 cup butter (real butter not margarine)

Frosting:

  • 3 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour an 8-inch square pan. In a large saucepan, melt 1/2 cup butter. Remove from heat, and stir in sugar, eggs, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Beat in 1/3 cup cocoa, 1/2 cup flour, salt, and baking powder. Spread batter into prepared pan. Bake in preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes. Do not overcook.

To Make Frosting: Combine 3 tablespoons softened butter, 3 tablespoons cocoa, honey, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, and 1 cup confectioners’ sugar. Stir until smooth. Frost brownies while they are still warm. 

 

As this is a blog hop, there are many other authors who are participating.  You can check them out HERE: when I scheduled this,  the list wasn’t up yet so hopefully you will be able to go there and get the fresh list.

What’s your favorite recipe?

Remember to leave a comment to be entered into the prize drawing for the week!

 

Write on my friends, write on!

 

 

Flash Fest Begins!


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s been a while since I’ve tried my hand at flash fiction. A few years back I took a challenge on someone else’s blog to try my hand at it. It was fun and challenging and helped me to cut out some of my wordiness.

I failed at NANO this year. *Hangs head*   BUT,   in all honesty, I didn’t expect to win this year given my current schedule. I do have 18K words down,  so that’s something right?  A far cry from my usual but I’ll take it.

So . . . I wanted to do something for my readers. I wanted a way to give prizes without breaking the bank. LIGHTBULB!

Flash fiction – I will have guests on the blog on many days in December who accepted my challenge to try their hands at Flash and share prizes.

What is Flash Fiction? Flash fiction is a short short story. Typically flash is 500 words or less. Super flash is  100 words, I bow to the people who can do that.

Extended flash is 500 to 1000 –  I can do those.  The challenge is to write a 1000 word or less piece with a given prompt.  My theme is holiday tunes.

At the end of each week,  I will use the random picker to select a winner of that week’s prize basket.  Many of the authors are sharing in the prize baskets.

I was going to start things off today,   but that would make this post really long.

Sunday is Weekend Writing Warriors excerpt, Monday is a special guest then we’ll kick off on Tuesday, 5th!!!!

STay tuned, be sure to comment throughout the week in order to win!  Also,  comments on the regular posts (Friday’s MFRW blog hop and Sunday’s WWW) to add more chances to win!

Write on my friends, write on!

 

 

There’s a Hole in My Bucket


This week’s MFRW blog hop post  – week 48 – 5 Things on My Bucket List.

First, I have a couple things to say before we dive in.  I am so grateful to my friend Cathy Brockman, for sharing this blog hop. At a time when I was at my lowest low, thinking I may not survive the breast cancer, this blog hop kept calling to me to get back to writing. Yes, I’m well aware that I can be overly dramatic. My father called me on that one back when I was like six. Anyway, it may sound silly but this blog hop, even though I missed several months for a while, kept calling me back. I have met ( online ) a great group of authors associated with this blog and read their blogs.  I don’t always leave comments, but I read them.

The Bucket List is something that became all too real to me during that time. Focus on what’s important and let the rest go. I had to keep reminding myself of the four agreements, specifically do your best every day.  Some days my best was get to radiation, eat something, and sleep.  That was it.  Cancer treatment is different for each individual and for me,   fatigue was a constant.

It is still a long road to recovery, but I’m getting there!

Now, on to 5 Things On My Bucket List.

  1. Publish 20 of my books. I have a huge file of partially completed and completed stories that I have been clinging to, reluctant to release my babies. Then what did I write them for? Why do I write in the first place?  To entertain others. How is anyone going to enjoy them when they are squirreled away in a locked file?
  2. Decorate my home the way I want!  I spent many years, trying to pease my mother, trying to win the approval of my mother in law.  I spent so long trying to fit in with everyone else,  I didn’t put things on my wall that I like. Currently,  we have very little on the walls. I can’t really use the excuse of we just painted because we painted over 5 years ago. I need to minimize the clutter in my home and organize, and put up minimum decorations in this house, in order to sell.  But when we move, Katy Bar the Door! I’ve got some great ideas saved on Pinterest.
  3. Travel!!! Nova Scotia, Western Caribbean, Hawaii, Scotland, Ireland, Italy, Venice, Rome, Australia – not sure I want to go to the outback and experience the wildlife like black mambas – crikey! There are places in the US that I haven’t been to yet, and I want to go. The Badlands, Grand Canyon, and many others!
  4. Be the Keynote Speaker at an Author Event. Someday. I have done public speaking before,  that’s not the challenge.  The challenge is to do it for other writers. It will be so much more fun than speaking of scientific type stuff.
  5. MY OWN OFFICE!!!!  Let me clarify, my own home office. If you’ve read last week’s post about the office you will understand. And here is where we have the hole in the bucket.

 

There are many more items on my revised bucket list, but I know you have better things to do than stay here reading.  In fact,  why don’t you share something off of your bucket list in the comments.  Come on, do it!  Just one item, you can do that right?

As this is a blog hop, there are many other authors who are participating.  You can check them out HERE: when I scheduled this,  the list wasn’t up yet so hopefully you will be able to go there and get the fresh list.

Write on my friends, write on!

 

 

Bragging Rights! #MFRW


Once again, it’s time for the Marketing for Romance Writers yearlong blog hop. For  week 46, the writing prompt is:

Let Me Brag For A Minute

 

 

Wow! Who would have thought that for me, a talker, this would be so difficult? I may have to go have another cup of coffee to think. Or maybe two.


Upon reading the prompt my immediate thought is  – I have nothing to brag about – period.  But that’s not true! Each of us has a story to tell, each of us has accomplishments.  I am more comfortable bragging about my friends and fellow authors than I am tooting my own horn, which is probably one reason my sales aren’t better!

But, this week’s prompt. . .  is it too late to back out?????  Yeah??  OK, FINE!  Let’s get this over with.

Ellie’s Top 5 Bragging Rights:

  1. Way back in my younger days. . . . *jump into the way back machine* . . . I earned a scholarship to attend Southeast Missouri State University. It covered everything except the housing, which at that time wasn’t nearly as expensive as now, that my daughter is attending there.  I went on to complete my degree even though I lost my scholarship.  I had to maintain a 3.5 gpa, and after the first year, my gpa was 3.47.  Nevertheless,  I won a scholarship!
  2. Have been married to the same man for 32 years!  It hasn’t been smooth sailing. We’ve certainly had our ups and downs, good times bad times, better and worse, sickness and health, . . . it was touchy for a while there but we made it through together. In this day and age, 20 years is a victory. 30 years is rare! I count this as a victory! We’re not perfect, we’re just two people who decide at the end of the day that the surplus column is greater than the deficit!
  3. I have published 3 books.  I know,  in the grand scheme of things that isn’t many but the fact that I have completed – and published 3 tells me that there is hope for the other 18 files on my computer. Several are completed but need editing. Some need revision, some need just a tweak here or there, . . . yes, I tend to be one of those who is hesitant to cut the cord because I worry that the world at large will not appreciate my babies.
  4. I am an excellent cook! Do you think I got this extra insulation by being a lousy cook? Seriously! It would probably be better for my and my family’s waistlines if I were one of those women who can’t even boil water. I can cook just about anything. I’ve mastered Italian foods – lasagna, mostaccioli, pasta marinara, pasta con Pesce,  fettuccini alfredo, and numerous other dishes including Capresi salad. I’ve mastered a few variations of Chinese foods – egg drop soup is so incredibly simple, I don’t know how anyone could get it wrong. Fried rice – it’s like jambalaya only Chinese. A couple favorites are General Tso’s chicken, chicken and vegetable, beef broccoli, and orange chicken. I’ve mastered some cajun cuisine – jambalaya, of course, red beans and rice, shrimp et tu fe, and gumbo. I’ve mastered good ol’ American homestyle – chicken and dumplings – have been requested at many family gatherings,  beef stew,  roast chicken dinner, pot roast. My family’s favorites are Tex Mex – enchiladas, fajitas, tacos, burritos, and tamales along with refried beans, and pico de gallo.   Then, of course, is my pie making abilities. The only pie I haven’t tackled is pecan pie because my husband makes it and it’s always excellent. Unfortunately,  I can no longer have sugar so my baking has dwindled down to experimenting with sugar-free recipes. On an up note,  I made a carrot cake for a recent gathering that was sugar-free and had 5 requests for the recipe! The only thing I haven’t mastered, and I feel that it’s because I get impatient is fried chicken! LOL
  5. My first book Red Wine & Roses was nominated for several awards. I was nominated for best cover, best contemporary romance, debut author, and debut romance author. I didn’t win,  but it was cool to be nominated. I was in the  top five for the final round of nominations, so I think that was pretty cool.
  6. BONUS:  I am claiming bragging rights for beating breast cancer!  I’m still here, still kicking, still writing, and getting stronger every day! I thank God every day that I wake up and have a renewed sense of what’s important in my life. I’m sorry that it took something like this to get my full attention,  but it has and I am learning to make myself a priority, which I haven’t done for a long time.

What bragging rights do you have?  What thing are you most proud of? Several things? Let’s hear what yours are!

 

Have a great one and write on my friends,  write on.

Meet the author: Maggie Adams


At Penned Con, I  had the chance to interview in person a few of the authors. Seriously, I  had scheduled a LOT more than I was able to do – my bad!  I greatly overestimated my energy levels!

One of the authors I was able to catch up with was Maggie Adams, as she was right across the aisle from me. Last year, this wonderful lady helped me to set up.  I was in a panic, frazzled, didn’t know what to do and she stepped in and helped me get things arranged. Thank you for that, Maggie!!

 

Maggie Adams is an Amazon Best Selling romance author. Her first book in the Tempered Steel Series, Whistlin’ Dixie, debuted in Amazon’s Top 100 for Women’s Fiction, humor, in November 2014. Since then, she has consistently made the Amazon bestseller 5-star list with her Tempered Steel Series. Her series has launched the tiny town of Grafton, Illinois, into International recognition with sales in Mexico, Ireland, Scotland, Australia and the UK.

She also writes erotica (Lustful Trilogy), paranormal romance (The Leathers Series), young adult romance (Sweet Tea Sisters), and women’s fiction (Minx).

Maggie’s books can be found on eBook and paperback at these links:

https://goo.gl/M53YYo – Whistlin’ Dixie, Book One in the Tempered Steel Series

https://goo.gl/MJAtRg – Leather and Lace, book two

https://goo.gl/5cbIQ5 – Something’s Gotta Give, book three

https://goo.gl/2zAsQt – Getting Lucky, A Tempered Steel Novella

https://goo.gl/FDHvaF – Love, Marriage & Mayhem, book four

https://goo.gl/D39MfT – Forged in Fire, book five

https://goo.gl/Fa5YF3 – Cold as Ice, book six

https://goo.gl/8gh5Ms – The Tempered Steel Series, Books 1-3

https://goo.gl/ekWrgF – Lustful Letters

https://goo.gl/j7yUPcThe Tempered Steel Series, Books 4-6

https://goo.gl/RrHuRZLustful Lies, book two of the Lustful Trilogy

http://www.maggieadamsbooks.com  – website

https://www.facebook.com/maggieadamsbooks – book page

https://www.facebook.com/groups/maggiesminxes -fan club page

https://www.amazon.com/author/maggieadams – author page
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/9867300.Maggie_Adams – Goodreads

https://twitter.com/AuthrMaggieAdms – twitter

https://www.pinterest.com/maggiesminxes/- Pinterest

https://www.instagram.com/maggieadamsbooks/ – Instagram

https://www.linkedin.com/in/maggie-adams-006a8b142/ – LinkedIn

https://www.linkedin.com/in/leather-bound-press-3a8809128 – LinkedIn Publishing Company

https://www.facebook.com/leatherboundpress/ – FB Publishing Page

Whistlin’ Dixie

A man on a mission….

Mackenzie Coalson was determined to rebuild his hometown after a devastating flood left it in ruins. He has no time for a relationship and all the romantic junk that goes with it. He has a vandal to catch and no sweet smelling bundle of femininity is going to sway him.

A woman protecting her family….

Dixie Harris charged into the county sheriff’s office with a sassy sway and a smart mouth, eager to give the sheriff, and anyone else, a piece of her mind. When she locks horns with the devil himself, in the form of Mac Coalson, she quickly learns he has a temper to rival hers, even if he’s the living epitome of her sexual fantasies.

When the two unite to catch a potential murderer, it’s in everyone’s best interest to keep it, “business only”. But that’s hard to do when their combined attraction is volatile enough to burn down the town.

https://www.amazon.com/Whistlin-Dixie-Tempered-Steel-Book-ebook/dp/B00PKEQU4G – eBook

https://www.amazon.com/Whistlin-Dixie-Tempered-Steel-1/dp/1503228088 – Paperback

https://www.amazon.com/Whistlin-Dixie-Tempered-Steel-Book/dp/B071ZT6X36 – audio

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/whistlin-dixie-maggie-adams/1120811922?ean=2940152277173

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1017188679

https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/whistlin-dixie-1

https://www.scribd.com/book/270868862/Whistlin-Dixie-A-Tempered-Steel-Novel-1

http://www.inktera.com/store/title/b75e7806-ddd0-492e-90e9-e8f52f84a8b7

https://www.24symbols.com/book/x/x/x?id=1165299

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/514528

LEATHER AND LACE

Sam Coalson, ex-Navy Seal, has returned to Grafton for the wedding of his brother. After being run out of town fifteen years ago for a crime he didn’t commit, he’s determined to claim what is rightfully his and take on anyone crazy enough to try and stop him.

Angel Devereaux is smart, sexy and definitely on Sam’s blacklist. After siding with Sam’s enemy fifteen years ago, Angel can’t help but wonder what if….what if Sam had never left? What if he could forgive her now? She had her reasons, but he won’t listen. So enough with words, sometimes action is exactly what’s called for.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00TVASI1S – ebook

https://www.amazon.com/Leather-Lace-Tempered-Steel-2/dp/1508558620 – paperback

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/leather-and-lace-maggie-adams/1122718449?ean=2940152729245

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1047544579

https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/leather-and-lace-12

https://www.scribd.com/book/283907754/Leather-and-Lace-A-Tempered-Steel-Novel-2

http://www.inktera.com/store/title/53a82fab-eb8c-4714-a4de-91ff674823ea

https://www.24symbols.com/book/x/x/x?id=1173744

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/581261

Something’s Gotta Give

Chance Coalson loves women. And they love him. Young or old, no woman is immune to his charm.

Except one.

Georgia Haines is the only female volunteer firefighter in Grafton. She’s had a crush on Chance Coalson since he offered her his handkerchief at her momma’s funeral. But she’s smart enough to know that it takes a special woman to tame a charmer like Chance, and there’s nothing particularly special about her.

When fire breaks out at the Coalson’s construction business and Chance is trapped inside, Georgia braves the flames to save him, only to discover her “crush” has morphed into love.  And she’s helpless to hide her desire.

Chance awakens to find an angel breathing life into his lungs with a kiss. The woman he wanted more than any other was the one who paid the “Casanova of the County” no mind.

So how does a man with a bad reputation convince a shy firefighter that he’s worth taking a chance on love?

By fighting fire with fire…

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00YWEK4KQ – ebook

https://www.amazon.com/Somethings-Gotta-Tempered-Steel-Novel/dp/1514659190 – paperback

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/somethings-gotta-give-maggie-adams/1122231120?ean=2940152688993

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1044524338

https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/something-s-gotta-give-10

https://www.scribd.com/book/283053296/Something-s-Gotta-Give-A-Tempered-Steel-Novel-3

http://www.inktera.com/store/title/02b01f9c-d0c7-4dd8-aed3-b3485b36c23d

https://www.24symbols.com/book/x/x/x?id=1173699

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/581271

Getting Lucky

Lawrence “Lucky” Coalson is on the track of the arsonist that torched his older brother’s construction company. The clues have led him to the Mississippi Flame Casino, in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Taking a job as a bouncer there, he hopes to find a connection to the vandalism or even the arsonist. What he finds is a blonde bombshell in a bit of trouble, so like the alpha male he is, Lucky comes to the rescue. But like a magician’s trick, not everything is as it appears.
Can Lucky discern the difference between lust and love when what happens in Vegas doesn’t stay in Vegas? And is the Coalson family prepared to face the consequences of his actions?

https://www.amazon.com/Getting-Lucky-Maggie-Adams-ebook/dp/B014JLZTFG

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/getting-lucky-maggie-adams/1122731957?ean=2940152737455

https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/getting-lucky-31

https://www.scribd.com/book/283217153/Getting-Lucky

http://www.inktera.com/store/title/e470b010-1721-4c1b-bdc3-3432abf833ae

https://www.24symbols.com/book/x/x/x?id=1165146

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/581464

Love, Marriage & Mayhem

His brothers tease that he’s the “Sensitive”‘ one— Brandon Coalson has a huge heart and a tender touch with those that need saving. He thought it a weakness. He will see it as a gift when he meets shy and frightened Anna Meeks.

Anna has a secret that keeps her from encouraging Brandon’s thoughtful advances. He lifts her to heaven during the day, but she goes home to hell at night. Can she trust this gentle giant with her life and the lives of those she loves?

When tragedy strikes the Coalson family, can Brandon and his brothers save the company they’ve worked so hard to build? Or will he be forced to sacrifice Anna when she’s caught in the crosshairs of a psychopath’s revenge?

https://www.amazon.com/Love-Marriage-Mayhem-Tempered-Steel-ebook/dp/B016J9WLUC – ebook

https://www.amazon.com/Love-Marriage-Mayhem-Tempered-Steel/dp/1519625316 – paperback

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/love-marriage-mayhem-maggie-adams/1123082752?ean=2940152785982

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1089174879

https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/love-marriage-mayhem

https://www.scribd.com/book/301452291/Love-Marriage-Mayhem-A-Tempered-Steel-Novel-4

http://www.inktera.com/store/title/3e0c8609-5cc7-4881-af68-42e7a665b9b3

https://www.24symbols.com/book/x/x/x?id=1173705

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/635891

Forged in Fire

“Lady, if I were you, I’d get the hell away from here ‘cause when I make it up this hill, I’m gonna be looking for you.” Lucky Coalson’s luck has run out. His ex-wife turned out to be a con artist; his business is in a shambles, and he’s been tossed into a muddy river by a smart assed feminist with a chip on her shoulder. Things couldn’t get much worse…or so he thought.

When Lucky’s accused of murdering his ex-wife, the Coalson family enlists the help of a private investigator to gather the clues necessary to prove his innocence. Little did they know that Renee Morgan is the same woman that sent Lucky scrambling up a sodden river bank at the height of a storm.

The two square off immediately, but Renee’s admiration of the Coalson family, despite her dislike of Lucky, is the deciding factor in her acceptance of the job. And although Lucky bristles every time she speaks, he grudgingly respects her intelligence and savvy skills as a private investigator.

As the hunt for the killer escalates, the two find they are not the only ones looking for the mysterious assassin. And the other people are more than willing to take out anyone that gets in their way, including those that Lucky and Renee hold dear to their hearts.

In a moment of passion that rocks them to the core, they realize their love may be forged in fire, but both have been badly burned by past lovers, and too stubborn to admit the truth. Can they find a way around their fears, or will Lucky’s ex-wife continue to plague him from the grave?

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01HOGHT4C – ebook

https://www.amazon.com/Forged-Fire-Tempered-Steel-5/dp/1532744722 – paperback

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/forged-in-fire-maggie-adams/1124034269?ean=2940153351971

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1129001448

https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/forged-in-fire-10

https://www.scribd.com/book/316984155/Forged-in-Fire-A-Tempered-Steel-Novel-5

http://www.inktera.com/store/title/03262bfa-f49d-4295-8206-5113386ab41c

https://www.24symbols.com/book/x/x/x?id=1544652

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/647432

Cold as Ice

He wants her to be his lover…she wants to be his forever.

Nick Coalson is abrasive, arrogant, and an absolute dynamo in the bedroom. Problem is, he knows it.

Rebecca Morgan is sweet, shy, and immensely attracted to Nick, but he’s trouble in tight jeans and she knows it.

When Nick Coalson saves Rebecca Morgan from an assassin’s bullet, he sets his sights on the shy partner of a detective agency. But he mistakes her kindness for weakness and learns the hard way that although she may seem submissive, she’s a voluptuous bundle of intelligence and determination.

Rebecca tries to hide her feelings for Nick because he’s the kind of man that makes a smart girl do stupid things. After a sensual encounter, Nick grows distant, stating he wants a lover, not a wife. Rebecca realizes she’s going to need to keep her wits about her if she wants Nick forever because it’s too easy to lose herself to his dominant personality.

When a stranger offers to help her win Nick, she accepts although she wonders what’s in it for him.  But Nick thinks it’s too late for his love when he witnesses a tender moment between Rebecca and another man.  His head tells him to step aside, but his heart aches for her tender touch.

And as the killer closes in on the Coalson family, Nick wonders if it will be too late to save not only their love, but their very lives?

https://www.amazon.com/Cold-Ice-Tempered-Steel-Book-ebook/dp/B01N9YK2KT – ebook

https://www.amazon.com/Cold-Tempered-Steel-Maggie-Adams/dp/1544071159 – paperback

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/cold-as-ice-maggie-adams/1125895673?ean=2940154271964

https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/cold-as-ice-24

https://www.scribd.com/book/340963036/Cold-as-Ice-A-Tempered-Steel-Novel-6

http://www.inktera.com/store/title/3d3a4d80-38ba-432f-89c0-123673b9ebe6

https://www.24symbols.com/book/x/x/x?id=2038544

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/723097

 The Lustful Trilogy, an erotic journey…

 Lustful Letters

https://www.amazon.com/Lustful-Letters-Trilogy-Book-ebook/dp/B01NBE5TGF – ebook

https://www.amazon.com/Lustful-Letters-Trilogy-Maggie-Adams/dp/1519099533 – paperback

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/lustful-letters-maggie-adams/1125283120?ean=2940153486932

https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/lustful-letters

http://www.inktera.com/store/title/4521411b-71c3-42f4-bcc1-4ea6ed48c7b8

https://www.24symbols.com/book/x/x/x?id=1834189

When the picture-perfect wife of a prominent local businessman decides to let loose of her inhibitions, she begins a journey into the darker art of romance and sexual gratification. Through online chats and fetish forums, she explores the world of kink, from Dominance and submission to BDSM. Sensory deprivation, wax, fire, rope and knife play are ideas waiting to be experienced.  Then there’s the relationships with Daddy/littles, Master/slave, primal, puppy play, hedonists, and leather families.

She yearns to explore, and yet, fears the loss of her vanilla world, for once seen, it can never be unseen. Her solution is to conduct dalliances online, but it soon becomes apparent that this will not satisfy her cravings. So, she must choose to continue in cyberspace or take the leap and truly begin to live the life her body, and her heart, desires.

But not every kinkster is a good soul, and she learns the hard way that trust can be misplaced, the mind can be twisted, and those that seek the darker passions may have their own psychotic agendas.  Just like Alice’s Wonderland, nothing is as it appears and what’s right is wrong and what is perceived as pain is, in fact, Nirvana.

 

Book Two, Lustful Lies

https://www.books2read.com/u/4AwR5J

https://www.amazon.com/Lustful-Lies-Book-Two-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B0754LV5TN

 In the beginning, it was good…

That’s how I look back on this time in my life. In my sexual prime, a widow escaping the mundane, seeking the darker art of romance. Romance? Ha! It was an obsession, a compulsion to discover the sensual being hidden for so many years.

I was a fool.

I ran rampant with the fever of sexual discovery, from submission to Dominance, edge play to slavery, I was willing to try it all. I would seek out willing participants in debauchery from online sex sites to chat forums. It didn’t matter. It was safe to play online, to meet in groups of like-minded people intent on pleasure.

Or so I thought.

When drugs and alcohol make the mind blurry and the hands unsteady, someone could get hurt. When the highs of pleasure can go no higher, when slavery and edge play take on dangerous thrills for the Dominant and frightening scenarios for the submissive, it is time to safeword out. So, I did.

But no one listened.

Now I must live with the consequences. I must decide to run away or face the challenge before me. I must discern the truth from the Lustful Lies.

IF you like romance with an erotic edge or straight up erotica, Maggie is your gal! Go check them out!

Write on my friends, write on!

Thank you Maggie for being my guest today!