Sunday 30 December 2012

My New Year’s Resolution: Learning the Art of R&R

I have to be honest. I had a hard time relaxing over the holidays this year. My body may have been physically visiting with my family, but my mind certainly wasn’t there! And believe me I tried! I’m finding that there’s no on and off switch for an author. Our office, our playground is in our heads 24/7. And I know I’m not alone. Did you know that regular relaxation is essential for a long life and personal effectiveness? Well, duh, that makes sense! So here are some techniques for relaxing physically that I scored from time management guru Brian Tracy:

Take time off every week: First of all, work only five or six days per week, and rest completely on the seventh day. Every single study in this area shows that you will be far more productive in the five or six days that you work if you take one or two days off completely than you ever would be if you worked straight through for seven days.

Get your mind busy elsewhere: During this time off, do not catch up on reports, organize your desk, or do anything else that requires mental effort. Simply let your mind relax completely, and get busy doing things with your family and friends. Maybe work around the house, go for a walk, engage in physical exercise, watch television, go to a movie, or play with your children. Whatever you do, discipline yourself to shut your mental gears off completely for at least one 24-hour period every seven days.

Get away on mini-vacations: Second, take one three-day vacation every three months, and during that time, refrain from doing any work. Do not attempt to catch up on even a few small things. If you do, you keep your mental gears in motion, and you end up neither resting nor properly doing work of any quality.

Take big chunks of down time: Third, take at least two full weeks off each year during which you do nothing that is work-related. You can either work or relax; you cannot do both. If you attempt to do a little work while you are on vacation, you never give your mental and emotional batteries a chance to recharge. You'll come back from your vacation just as tired as you were when you left.

Give yourself a break today: If you are involved in a difficult relationship, or situation at work that is emotionally draining, discipline yourself to take a complete break from it at least one day per week. Put the concern out of your mind. Refuse to think about it. Don't continually discuss it, make telephone calls about it or mull it over in your mind. You cannot perform at your best mentally if you are emotionally preoccupied with a person or situation. You have to give yourself a break.

Go for a walk in nature: Since a change is as good as a rest, going for a nice long walk is a wonderful way to relax emotionally and mentally. As you put your physical body into motion, your thoughts and feelings seem to relax all by themselves.

Eat lighter foods: Also, remember that the process of digestion consumes an enormous amount of physical energy. Therefore, if you eat lighter foods, you will feel better and more refreshed afterward. If you eat more fruits, vegetables, and whole-grain products, your digestive system will require far less energy to process them.

Be good to yourself: Since your diet has such an impact on your level of physical energy, and through it your levels of mental and emotional energy, the more fastidious you are about what you put into your mouth, the better you will feel and the more productive you will be. We know now that foods high in fat, sugar, or salt are not good for your body. The lighter the foods you eat, the more energy you have.

Wishing all my readers a safe, prosperous, blessed, and Happy New Year this 2013! Cheers, all!

Friday 21 December 2012

Full Paradigm Shift…

It’s here. The end of one cycle and the beginning of another. The Mayan calendar is finished. Done. Dead. Gone. Now what? Now it’s time to wipe the slate clean and move forward with all your newfound knowledge. Kind of like Dorothy finally returning home to Kansas with no flying monkeys to deal with! Remember – you are here because time has carried you here to fulfill your purpose. It also helps to know that there’s a plan, and you’re part of that plan!

It’s not an accident (BTW- there are no accidents) that you were born at this specific time in history, in the specific place you live. This is a time of immense opportunity. You are here to seize the day; to see the condition the world is in, and act to change it; to see that the world is a reflection of your own inner beliefs and use that reflection to face your own shadow; to use the power of your mind to create a new reality. These are truly exciting times for all of us!
Your past thoughts, actions, and beliefs have brought you to this moment in time for a reason. Knowing this deep in your core is part of living from your higher self. There’s an old Hopi saying: “We are the ones we have been waiting for.” The Mayans also have a saying: “You are the pyramid and the pyramid is you.” Smart people those Hopis and Mayans!

So, as you buckle down for the major transformation that’s taking place now, know that the old order must dissolve to make way for the new. Expect the unexpected! I wish you peace, prosperity, happiness, and wisdom in this brave new world. Be the change you want to see.

Wednesday 19 December 2012

Wenches of Words Wednesday: Clarissa Johal

Today, I’m excited to feature fellow Wench of Words, Clarissa Johal, a wench of many talents including writing paranormal fiction and scaring the pants off readers! Take it away, Clarissa…

Musa Publishing’s newest author is here to discuss her life and debut novel BETWEEN. Please give a warm welcome to Clarissa Johal.
Tell us about yourself.

I write adult paranormal and horror. I love ballet, photography, fencing and running with my dogs. I’ve lived in so many places that I’ve lost count, but I was born in California. Right now, I live in North Carolina with my husband, two daughters, dogs, cats, tanks of fish, rescue turtles, rats, gerbils...the list goes on. I used to work in veterinary medicine and as a zoo keeper volunteer. These days, I try and help out with very basic wildlife rescue rehab when I can, which doesn’t explain all the other animals in my house, but I’m a sucker for strays.

Tell us about your book.

How far would you go to redeem yourself?

As a young girl, Lucinda was able to see spirits, a gift that didn't come without its problems. Now, a dedicated young veterinarian, she is committed to the idea that every life can be saved.

After a devastating accident, Lucinda tries to escape her past by moving to a small town. There, she meets a newcomer and feels an immediate connection with him. But there is another mysterious stranger to the small town, one that stirs within her a mixture of unease and desire.

As Lucinda is drawn into a bitter tug-a-war from the forces around her, she is likewise pulled into a dangerous twist of past and present events. Forced to make difficult choices, she finds that the two men are locked in not only a battle for her life...but a battle for their salvation.

BBQ? Carolina, Tennessee, Texas or Kansas City?

Oh yikes, none of the above. I’ve been a vegetarian for about 20 years now. My family is complicated. My younger daughter eats chicken, but doesn’t like fish, save for tuna. My older daughter eats fish of all kinds but no other meat, I don’t eat meat or fish, and my husband eats almost everything. Nobody eats beef, pork or lamb, because they don’t like it. Makes for an interesting dinner.

What are your five favorite Novels?

Mythago Wood by Robert Holdstock, American Gods by Neil Gaiman, An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser, Lirael by Garth Nix, and the Skullduggery Pleasant series by Derek Landy. I also really love Shakespeare.

If you could only have one vice what would it be?

I’m boring as I only have one vice now! But it’s mine so I’ll stick with it—I’m an unapologetic coffee drinker. And it has to be Peet’s Sumatra.

What do you prefer roller coasters, carousels or the bumper cars?

I used to love roller coasters. On the first date I ever went on, I rode every single roller coaster at the California State Fair and ended up getting sick in my purse. That cured me from roller coasters forever. The guy even asked me out again but I was just too mortified. I’d probably pick carousels now. And I’d have to ride the seahorse or I’d have a grown-up tantrum.

What are you working on now?

My next paranormal novel. It’s about a young woman that gets struck by lightning and then begins to experience unexplainable things. That’s all I can say.

What’s your favorite movie?

One favorite? Right now it would have to be Castaway on the Moon. It’s a Korean film that came out in 2009. Big Trouble in Little China and Woman in Black with Daniel Radcliffe are close seconds.

If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be and why?

The Dumfries and Galloway area of Scotland, hands-down. My husband and I backpacked all over the UK many years ago and I fell in love with Loch Skeen. I actually got choked up when it was time to leave. I wanted to sleep on the moors. The remoteness and beauty of the area really struck me.

Are you a Plotter or a Panster?

Oh, panster all the way. I have a general idea of plot and maybe one character, it may even be a supporting character, but I never know what’s going to happen until the characters tell me. With the exception of Between, which I wrote from beginning to end, I usually start by writing a random scene and it will build from there. If I tried to plot everything out, I think it would destroy my creative drive completely.

Where do you find inspiration?

In art and in mythology. My favorite artists are Waterhouse, Michael Parkes and BROM. I love reading all kinds of mythology but especially Celtic and British.

Name five things that are on your desk right now?

My gargoyle Victor, a handout from MOMA featuring one of Tim Burton’s awesome drawings, a painting my daughter did in grade 5, a lava lamp, and my Nikon camera.

How do you handle writers block?

With oven mitts. Kidding. I jump on my trampoline and ballet. Usually in that order.

To read an excerpt from Between, please click HERE.

Learn more about Clarissa Johal on her website and blog.

Stay connected on Facebook and Twitter.

Buy Links 

Musa Publishing:


Tuesday 18 December 2012

Spreading the Good News…

First, I’d like to announce the winners of the Goodreads Giveaway and the Gift Card Giveaway Hop! Drum roll please…and the winners are…

Goodreads Giveaway goes to Maria Gonzalez! Congratulations, Maria, your limited edition signed paperback of The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis is in the mail. Thank you for entering the giveaway, and I hope you enjoy my labor of love.

Gift Card Giveaway of a $10 Musa Publishing gift certificate goes to Kate Smythe! Virtual high fives for the score, Kate! Now you’ve got the tough job of choosing the eBooks you want to stuff onto your ereader! Thank you for stopping by on the hop to enter, and enjoy your choices!
Okay, now for the BIG NEWS! I’ve just signed another contract with Musa Publishing to publish the prequel to the Last Timekeepers series, entitled Legend of the Timekeepers. This book is in Lilith’s point of view, when she was a young teen. The story takes place after the destruction of Atlantis, and introduces readers to the charming, and oh-so-evil Belial. There’s no release date set, so please be patient and stay tuned for further announcements on my blog, facebook page or tweets.

I also want to wish everyone happy holidays and may 2013 bring you and your loved ones peace, prosperity, health, and happiness throughout the year. Cheers, blessings, and salute!

Tuesday 11 December 2012

Gift Card Giveaway Hop

Welcome, and thank you for stopping by on your tour around the Gift Card Giveaway Hop hosted by Sweeping Me and I Am A Reader, Not A Writer. I’m giving away a $10 Gift Certificate from Musa Publishing to use on any of their vast and awesome choices of ebooks. My novel The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis, the first book in my middle-grade/YA time travel series is released through Musa Publishing, and available on Amazon, and other on-line book store. BTW – this Giveaway is opened internationally, so everyone is included in this hop! Cheers and Happy Holidays to All!

Here’s the tagline and blurb from my book:

Children are the keys to our future. And now, children are the only hope for our past.

When 13-year-old Amanda Sault and her annoying classmates are caught in a food fight at school, they're given a choice: suspension or yard duty. The decision is a no-brainer. Their two-week crash course in landscaping leads to the discovery of a weathered stone arch in the overgrown back yard. The arch isn't a forgotten lawn ornament but an ancient time portal from the lost continent of Atlantis.

Chosen by an Atlantean Magus to be Timekeepers--legendary time travelers sworn to keep history safe from the evil Belial--Amanda and her classmates are sent on an adventure of a lifetime. Can they find the young Robin Hood and his merry band of teens? If they don't, then history itself may be turned upside down.

Good luck, and don’t forget to visit all the other blogs on the hop and enjoy more giveaway fun!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms & Conditions
 This Blog Hop begins midnight on December 11th and runs until midnight December 17th, 2012. The draw will take place December 18th, 2012.
 The winner will chosen by Rafflecopter
 I will contact the winner via email and give the winner 72 hours to accept his/her prize.
 Prize as stated—no alternatives will be offered.

Wednesday 5 December 2012

Wenches of Words Wednesday: Vonnie Hughes

I’m excited to feature fellow Wench of Words, Vonnie Hughes — a wonderful wench from down-under — who pens Regency and romantic suspense fiction, on my blog today! Take it away, Vonnie…

Vonnie Hughes and Musa Publishing are delighted to present CAPTIVE, a new Aurora Regency, for your reading pleasure.
When Alexandra Tallis sets free the attractive man her sister stupidly tried to hold captive, her actions lead not only to a love she never thought to find, but also to a horrific family secret that threatens that love.

When Alexandra Tallis discovers that her witless sister has imprisoned their father’s nemesis, Theo Crombie in their attic, she quickly frees him, fighting an unladylike impulse to keep him as her own special captive. Despite the brutal beating she receives from her father for her actions, Alexandra continues to yearn for the delicious Mr. Crombie even though she knows that nothing will ever come of her dreams.
Injured and shackled in a stranger’s attic, Theo unexpectedly discovers the woman of his dreams. But how can he pursue those dreams when her bizarre family’s complex relationships threaten the very foundation of his existence? Somehow Theo must find a way through this maze to claim his lady.

“Oh, no, Emmaline! Please untie him. Let him go.”

Whatever would her sister do next? At seventeen, she was an eligible man’s worst nightmare. And this latest escapade—

“Don’t be such a bore, Lexie. ’Tis a great joke! For once, Papa will thank us. Especially when he finds out who it is we’ve trussed up.” Emmaline laughed her silvery, seductive laugh that drove men wild and irritated women.

“Thank us? He is more like to beat us. You cannot capture someone and bring him here and…and just tie him up!”

“Of course I can. I already have. I shall lock the two of you in here together and then raise an outcry. Papa and the servants will come running and—,” she waved her pretty hands in the air, “—the rest will take care of itself. Papa’s investment problem will be solved, and with a bit of luck, you might even be married by next week, sister.”

“Are you out of your mind?” rasped an angry voice from the darkest corner of the garret.

“Ah, you’re awake!” trilled Emmaline.

Alexandra Tallis gulped. She was doing her best not to look at the near-naked man half-hidden in the shadows. But her eyes refused to behave. Stripped to the waist he was a wondrous sight, all muscle and taut sinew. His arms tensed and strained as he struggled to escape.

“Get me out of here,” he snarled.

Alexandra blinked and looked more closely, but her eyesight was not the best. She lifted a candle from the wall sconce and took a step forward. And another.

“You’re bleeding!”

He swiveled his head to look in her direction. “Sense at last. Yes, I’m bleeding. I’d be obliged if you’d free me from these bl—these ridiculous bonds.” There was a clank and rattle as he tried to move.

Gracious! Emmaline hadn’t just tied the man up—she had chained him. Alexandra closed her eyes for a few seconds.

“Emmaline! How on earth did you manage—?”

“Davy did it for me. Well, he would fight, so Davy had to subdue him.”

“What did that witless boy do? Shoot the poor man?”

“Yes, actually. He did,” the man muttered.


Vonnie Hughes is a New Zealander living in Australia. She loves animals and jogging. Vonnie writes Regencies and romantic suspense novels along with short stories. She is presently working on a romantic suspense, working title: Innocent Hostage and a Regency novella, working title: A Tale of Two Sisters.

Her earlier book Coming Home is about a soldier and a nurse, thrown together during the Napoleonic wars, who find more danger on their return to England than they ever did on the Iberian Peninsula.

The Second Son is actually a prequel to Coming Home. A second son, filled with angst, stands to inherit a title and property through the death of a brother he has always loathed and mistrusted. A young disabled woman teaches him how to find his self-respect and how to love.

Another Regency Historical, Mr. Monfort’s Marriage, has businessman Matthew Monfort inveigled into marrying an earl’s daughter. With good reason he loathes the ton, so his new wife needn’t think she’s going to win him over, even though she’s quite delightful…and intelligent…and sweet…However Verity shows him that not all members of the ton are idle layabouts and that he can do much good with his largesse and with—shock, horror—the unexpected and embarrassing title conferred on him by Prinny.

All of Vonnie’s books are available on Amazon and Musa Publishing.

Learn more about Vonnie Hughes on her website and blog. Stay connected on Facebook and Goodreads.

Monday 3 December 2012

Thinking Outside the Box for the Holidays…

Supporting local businesses not only helps keep money circulating in your community, but keeps people like your neighbors, friends or family employed throughout the year. This isn’t about big National chains — this is about supporting your hometown businesses with their financial lives on the line trying to keep their doors open. Here are some suggestions that will help you think outside the box:  

·         Everyone gets their haircut. How about gift certificates from your local salon or barber?

·         Gym membership? It’s appropriate for all ages who are thinking about some health improvement. Especially when January 1st rolls around and your resolutions kick-in!

·         Who wouldn’t appreciate their car detailed? Small, locally owned detail shops and car washes would love to sell you a gift certificate.

·         Perhaps that grateful gift receiver would like their driveway sealed, or lawn moved for the summer, or driveway cleared all winter, or a few rounds at the local golf course.

·         There are a ton of owner-run restaurants — all offering gift certificates. And, if your intended isn’t the fancy-smancy eatery sort, what about a half-dozen breakfasts at the local breakfast joint?

·         How many people couldn’t use an oil change for their car, truck or motorcycle, done at a local mechanic shop?

·         Thinking about a heartfelt gift for mom? Betcha she’d LOVE the services of a local cleaning lady for a day. Or, how about a paid manicure or pedicure?

·         What about a book by a local author, fiction or non-fiction. There’s a gift for everyone on your list.

·         Need a computer tune-up? I know I can find some local computer repair business.

·         Looking for something more personal? Local crafts people make jewelry, candles, pottery, paintings, jams, jellies, relishes, and more.

·         Plan your holiday outings at local, owner operated restaurants and leave your server a nice tip. How about going to see a play or ballet at the local theatre. Musicians need love too, so find a venue showcasing local bands.

This holiday season the dollars you spend could save someone’s job, or stop a business from closing its doors. And when we care about our community, the benefits come back to us in ways we couldn’t imagine.

SHAMELESS PLUG — if you’re thinking about supporting THIS author over the holiday season, please click HERE to purchase an ecopy of The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis to download to your ereader. Cheers and wishing you and your family safe and happy holidays!

Gift Image: 123rf2376639 Stock Photo