From Comfort Zone to Stretch Zone

Welcome to my Second Acts Series!

Today, we have Soul Mate author Tina Susedik describing the many hats she has worn throughout her life.

Here’s Tina!

tinasusedik I came across a saying that I believe exemplifies life: “We plan, God Laughs.” No matter how we organize our lives, think we know where we’re going, life takes us in different directions. Sometimes good, sometimes bad, but always a learning experience.

First Act: I grew up in a poor family. We moved a lot, never spending much time in one house. Through this I learned to adapt and love living in the country.

I worked my way through college, getting a degree in Business with a minor in Journalism. I met my future husband the day before classes started my Freshman year. We married three years later. Defying all those naysayers who said we would never graduate, we both got our degrees.

Then we moved – and moved a lot as my husband’s jobs changed and improved. At best count I have lived in thirty-three different houses or apartments in my sixty-two years.

Two children came along with the decision to be a stay-at-home mom. I babysat, sold Tupperware and MaryKay, sewed clothes for others and enjoyed my children. I went back to school and earned two degrees in education and began teaching, a profession I thoroughly enjoyed.

One of our moves came after school started, and I was unable to get a job. I found an ad in a magazine for courses in writing for children. I applied and was accepted, starting my love for writing.

Another move had us in Canada, where again I couldn’t teach. I continued writing children’s books, but dabbled in writing romance. I had no idea what I was doing.

After moving back to the States and once again not having a full-time job, I started substitute teaching. It was during my drive home from a small town up the road from us that someone hit my car from behind. After a few years of struggling to teach through the pain (I did get a full-time position teaching fifth grade), I finally had to face the fact that I could no longer do what I love and needed to find something I could do.

In hindsight, I can now see how this accident helped me end up where I am today. Through the help of our state’s rehabilitation program, I was set up with a desk-top publishing business. This also afforded me time to continue writing romance.

One day I received a phone call from a town clerk from a nearby township. They needed someone to write a history of their township for their centennial celebration. Even though I had no idea how to do this, I agreed. I fell in love with interviewing, researching and writing their story. This 300-page book began a new career. I went on to write three more township books, a city history book and three military books, while learning more about writing romance.

Second Act: My husband and I bought a tax and accounting business. During tax season my writing time was curtailed, but I managed to get in as much as I could. During the “off season,” besides sitting for my grandchildren two days a week, I write full time. It’s something I can’t not do.

When I turned fifty-nine, I decided it was time to do something with the manuscripts I’d written and buried. I pitched, submitted, wrote and rewrote. I attended conferences and conventions about romance writing. I was determined it was my time.

Two years ago, everything fell into place. Within two weeks, I was asked for full manuscripts for two different books from two different publishers. “Riding for Love” was published last May with Soul Mate Publishing. This year I have another book coming out with Wild Rose Press under a pen name. I don’t have a final title or publication date yet. I’ve pulled out two of my children’s book manuscripts, brushed them off and found illustrators. They will be published this year, too.

My advice for anyone planning to pursue a second act is to be flexible and never stop learning. Looking back I can see where life was sending me, but during those years, I had no idea why things were happening as they did.

Affirmations

It doesn’t matter how old or young you are when your dreams come true. Had I wished I was published at a younger age? Yes. But I am where I’m supposed to be at this point in my life and I’m loving it.

Quotes

I always tell my grandchildren: “Never give up, never give up.” I have two quotes that follow this mantra: “It’s always too early to quit,” Norman Vincent Peale. “A professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit,” Richard Bach.

Riding for Love Cover (2)

Blurb

Eve Dayton, owner of a riding ranch, rose above her childhood past and overcame the emotional damage her boyfriend caused when he married another woman. When someone starts sabotaging her ranch, Eve is desperate to find the culprit before she loses everything. Is it a coincidence or is the return of Denton Johanson tied to the mystery?

Divorced Denton Johanson returns to his hometown to help convict the embezzling controller of the family business. When he runs into Eve, he realizes his feelings for her are still strong enough to try and win her back. His fear of horses won’t get in the way of his goal and decides the only way to be near her is to take riding lessons from her. Can he convince her that his love is real and he is not behind the mystery surrounding the ranch?

Eve Dayton’s former boyfriend returns to town just as problems start arising at her horse riding ranch. Can she believe his declaration to be part of her life again? Will she overcome the suspicion that he is part of the problem and accept his help in catching the culprits? Find out how Denton Johanson triumphs over his fears to win back her love.

Where to find Tina…

Website | Facebook| Twitter | Pinterest | Amazon | Goodreads

Joanne here!

Tina, you are a wonderful role model for all of us. I am impressed by your ability to skillfully navigate the many challenges you have faced. Riding for Love sounds delicious…I’m putting it on my TBR list.

Oprah and Adyashanti

adyasanti

Yesterday, Oprah welcomed best-selling author and spiritual teacher Adyashanti to Super Soul Sunday.

Born Steven Gray in 1962, Adyashanti developed an interest in awakening and spiritual enlightenment at age 19. Subsequently, he built a meditation hut in his parents’ backyard and began his study of Zen. In his mid-twenties, he experienced a series of transformative spiritual awakenings that he described as “difficult emotional experiences he would not wish on his worst enemy.”

He came to realize that his spirituality could not be labelled and, in 1997, changed his name to Adyashanti, a Sanskrit word meaning “primordial peace.” His influence grew and he released several books that achieved best-seller status, among them Falling Into Grace and Resurrecting Jesus, the focus of yesterday’s telecast.

When asked about falling into grace, Adyashanti reminds us we cannot make these moments happen. All we can do is prepare the soil and make ourselves ready. If we are dealing with difficult experiences, Adyashanti advises us to be unconditionally open and take responsibility for what has happened in the past. And he asks us to consider the following questions:

Since the past isn’t here now, how am I keeping it alive?

What is the energy of my family of origin? Can I sense it in myself?

His advice regarding that heavy and sticky negative energy…Bless the energy and forgive it. Wish it its own freedom.

In Resurrecting Jesus, Adyashanti writes about the revolutionary Jesus who delivered pointed critiques of the religious and power structures of his day.

Quotable Quotes…

Beneath our personality lies who we truly are–our Presence.

When we realize we are not our thoughts, we awaken.

Eternity knows no history.

All negative energy is looking for resolution.

The #1 purpose of religion is to help connect people to the radiance of spirit.

The soul is our living presence, our shared living presence.That’s where we connect.

A true prayer is when we open up and say this is what I am willing to give.

Surrender to what is happening in the present moment.

The keys to your happiness are not in someone else’s pocket.

Cover Reveal: The Call

I’m thrilled to present the cover for Patricia Hudson’s novel…

thecall

Blurb

Is it witchcraft or madness? Angharad Jones heeds the call and relocates to Wales hoping to discover her heritage. She is unprepared for the battle of power unleashed upon her arrival.

Angharad, a successful author, seeks answers to explain the visions plaguing her since childhood. In a drastic move to uncover the mystery behind her visions, Angharad moves to Wales, the one place her mother refuses to talk about.

While renting a cottage in Fishguard, she meets Rhyse Williams, the handsome Chief Inspector, who is investigating the death of two students found naked and bound together on the beach below the cliffs surrounding the village; the same two students in Angharad’s vision. Their attraction to one another is immediate and intense, but can she trust Rhyse or will he run for the hills when she tells him about her visions. It is all unleashed when Angharad discovers that Rhyse is part of the call. Are they destined for love or betrayal? Murders are uncovered, spells are cast and love is found. The battle of power between good and evil begins.

Bio

Patricia Hudson was born in Wales, U.K. As a young girl she moved to America with her family and currently resides on a small horse farm in central Illinois, with her husband, David, two dogs, and her beloved quarter horse.

She has written seven books: Stolen Hearts released in 2013. The Call, Love on the Double T, Love’s Deception, and The Exchange to be published in 2014. Also in production are The Circle, and Jana Morgan, PI.

Where to find Patricia…

Blog | Twitter | Facebook

RELEASE DATE: April 23, 2014

When Change Comes Knocking

Welcome to my Second Acts Series!

Today, we have Soul Mate author Maggie Mundy talking about her transformative journey across two continents and her debut novel, Hidden Mortality.

Here’s Maggie!

maggiemundy (2)Describe your first act.

Being asked to write this made me realise how different I am compared to the person who started out so long ago. I now live in Australia which is literally a world away from where my first act started.

I grew up in Bristol, England. They say write what you know and it so happens to be the setting for my book Hidden Mortality. My parents were devout Irish Catholics and we would visit family in Ireland every year. Waterfall House in the book is also my grandparent’s house and you can still go there on a farm stay. I always yearned to travel and wanted to join the navy, but my parents talked me out of it. Then I wanted to be a policewoman. I know, I must have a thing about uniforms. I eventually ended up a nurse. It was what my mother wanted and it has served me well over the years.

I married at twenty-one to a man who I knew wanted to emigrate so I think the yen to travel had not left me. I think I also believed I needed to move away from my family to really be me. My parents worked hard to give us what they could but it was not an easy home to grow up in. We moved to Australia and had two girls who are now in their twenties and the most wonderful daughters a person could have.

What triggered the need for change?

What triggered the need for change for me was that my parents both died within two years. I think when something like that happens you start to reassess. All the things you have put to the back of your mind while you get on with life come to the front. I remember being at work in the operating room and thinking is this it. In thirty years’ time will it just have been more of this. I was in my forties so mid-life crisis, I know. When people die you often mourn not only their loss but also the loss of what might have been. I decided at didn’t want to grow old thinking I could have done more.

Where are you now?

After I picked myself up and brushed myself off I decided to go on a journey. For me that was to go to university. I had done my nurse training in a hospital so I had never experienced this type of study before. I did a degree and majored in English, Drama and Creative Writing. I took eight years to do it while working and getting my kids through high school. I loved every minute of it.

I had never considered writing but when asked to write a one-person, one-act play something clicked. It is still hiding on my computer. I found once I started writing I could not stop. The characters in my head kept telling me I had to write them down. I still work as a nurse but I found my true love in my writing.

I have also changed other things in my life. I am no longer a Christian but follow the Buddhist philosophy and have become vegetarian. I am also passionate about our planet and what we are doing to it as humans. I believe in equality, and try not to judge people on their race, gender, religious beliefs or sexual orientation. This is all a million years away from the little girl who went to the convent school. I like her though.

Do you have advice for anyone planning to pursue a second act?

I think if it is meant to happen it will. Life is all about choices. If the time for change comes knocking on the door, you have a decision to make. Do you stay where you are or embrace what you could become? It can be scary I know. Once you start on the second act there is no going back. You will discover fantastic things about yourself you didn’t even know.

Any affirmations or quotations you wish to share?

Life is not a rehearsal, so live it.

hiddenmortality

Blurb

In Bath in 1850 a witch is murdered in a ritual granting longevity to four men. What they are not aware of is that she has bestowed the same power to another called Seth to avenge her death.

Cara is a descendant of the witch and fills her days with food with her Irish themed catering business. Her nights are another matter; they are full of erotic dreams of a mysterious lover, or nightmares with mutilated bodies. So this wasn’t the best time for her Nana to tell her she is coming into her power.

Of the original four immortals, Vincent is the only one left and to stop his own long life fading he needs another witch to kill. Seth was meant to protect the witch’s descendants from a distance, but with Cara he can’t stay away. He has to make a choice to love Cara, or avenge the original death and possible die himself. Cara has the fight of her life on when one man comes to kill her, and another to love her.

Where to find Maggie…

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Pinterest

Joanne here!

Thank you for sharing your inspiring journey, Maggie. Hidden Mortality sounds intriguing. I’m putting it on my TBR list.

Trailer Tuesday: J.C. McKenzie

Welcome to the Trailer Tuesday series!

Today, I am pleased to feature a trailer from urban fantasy author J. C. McKenzie.

Born and raised on the Haida Gwaii, off the West Coast of Canada, J.C. grew up in a pristine wilderness that inspired her to dream. Her debut novel, Shift Happens, published by Wild Rose Press, is now available on Amazon.

Enjoy!

Where to find JC…

Website | Blog | Amazon | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Oprah and Sue Monk Kidd

suemonkkidd

Yesterday, on Super Soul Sunday, Oprah sat under the oaks with Sue Monk Kidd, best-selling author of The Invention of Wings (an Oprah Book Club selection) and seven other books. I assumed that Oprah would be discussing the novel and was pleasantly surprised to discover that the topic of the telecast was “The Soul of a Writer.” Throughout the telecast, I listened attentively as Sue shared a lifetime of wisdom.

Sue’s journey began on a traditional note. At age 20, she married and started a nursing career, a decision that Sue describes as a “failure of courage.” Her true calling went unheeded for almost a decade. At age 29, she read The Seven Storey Mountain by Thomas Merton and experienced one Aha! moment after another.

On the morning of her 30th birthday, Sue marched into the kitchen and announced: “I’m going to be a writer,” an announcement she has labelled a great absurdity. While she had written stories during her childhood and kept a journal, she had not produced any other written work. After discovering this “small true light,” Sue spent the next two decades honing her craft.

Having read and enjoyed The Secret Life of Bees, I was shocked to hear that an esteemed teacher at a conference had read the first chapter and informed Sue that it did not show potential for a novel. Thankfully, Sue was led by serendipity to find her way back to the novel which later sold over 6 million copies.

Quotable Quotes

We should take our own breath once in a while.

There is no place so awake and alive as the edge of becoming.

The soul often speaks through longing.

Prayer is the attention of the heart.

What is the point of spirituality if we don’t put it in some form of practice?

At some point, we must acknowledge: This moment is enough. This place is enough. I’m enough.

Just to be is holy. Just to be is a gift.

Our souls are meant to love and create.

What we pay attention to becomes our God.