In a Tree House by Hafiz

will someday split you open
even if your life is now a cage,

For a divine seed, the crown of destiny,
is hidden and sown on an ancient, fertile plain
that you hold the title to.

Love will surely bust you wide open
into an unfettered, blooming new galaxy
A life-giving radiance will come,

O look again within yourself,
For I know you were once the elegant host
To all the marvels in creation.

From a sacred crevice in your body,
a bow rises each night
and shoots your soul into God.

Behold the Beautiful One
from the vantage point of Love.

He is conducting the affairs
of the whole universe
in a tree house – on a limb
in your heart.

Spotlight on Sophia Kimble

I am happy to spotlight Sophia Kimble and her debut novel, Protect Her. Her long and winding path to publication will inspire writers (and non-writers) to pursue their dreams.

Here’s Sophia!

sophia kimbleI’m going to preface this spotlight with the fact I hate talking about myself, so bear with me folks. I make up stories for a living—telling the truth leaves something a bit sour on my tongue. Oops, I’ve said too much already.

Whew, okay, I feel better now.

I’ve been an avid reader all of my life. Heard that before, I’m sure, but hey, it’s the truth. (Oh no, get me my toothbrush.) My love of romance novels began when I was thirteen after I read the first book in the Calder Saga series by Janet Dailey. I mean, come on, what’s not to love? Gorgeous alpha male cowboys who live and love in Montana. Well, I can tell you, I saved my allowance and bought them all, stayed up all night to finish, and took a trip to Montana when I was older. Even dreamed of meeting and falling in love with a real cowboy!

It was probably in College while I was taking interior design and acting classes that I began to think I could write a book, but I was always too afraid of failure to give it a go. (I grew up in Southern California, so it shouldn’t surprise you what my first majors were. I was even an extra in a couple of movies.) I know, what the heck was I doing studying to become an actor when I feared rejection?

Those were my thoughts exactly, which is why I changed majors. So what does someone who wants to be an author, interior designer, or an actor, but is too afraid, do with her life? She becomes a nurse. Makes perfect sense, don’t you think?

Twenty years later an accident left me unable to work for an extended period, and I began thinking about that long-ago dream of writing. Talked to my husband (who’s not a cowboy, but oh so sexy just the same) about it, and he urged me to give it a try.

The first year was full of not only writing Protect Her, but taking classes, entering contests, having my work reviewed by critique partners, getting rejection letters from agents, and many…many rewrites. Like many first time authors, I wavered from this book sucks, to it’s actually pretty good, and then back again. Usually within a five minute time span.

Then, (here’s where it gets good) Savvy Authors held on online pitch event, and Protect Her received requests from publishers to see my manuscript… four partials and three fulls. Yay! Two of the partials became fulls, and Protect Her received 3 contract offers!

I was floored! No literally, I fell on the floor and my husband came running to see what was wrong. After much consideration, I signed with Soul Mate Publishing, and couldn’t be happier with the decision. Protect Her is now available on Amazon.

Life is good.

ProtectHer_850HIGH (2)


Golden Alexander is trapped in a nightmare.

Trying to flee her hallucination of a demon, she runs heart first into the brooding alpha male she’s been dreaming about for years, and then her nightmare really begins.

Kris Pietka is done with women…he’s broken. But when he meets Golden, an overwhelming need to protect her tests everything he thought he knew about himself, and the paranormal.

A bond forged centuries ago thrusts them together as they search for a way to break an ancient Druid curse prophesying their demise. Racing against the clock, they travel from Vermont, to the Carpathian Mountains in Poland, and the Scottish Highlands in search of answers and a way to break the curse.

But something evil watches—it covets, and time is running out.

Will fate allow love to prevail against unbeatable odds, or will Golden wake to find it was all a delusion?


Sophia Kimble has always wanted to be an author, but for years, life got in the way. She wouldn’t change a thing about how her life turned out, though. Her family keeps her laughing and loving. Her wonderful husband and two extraordinary children stand beside her every step of the way and make this journey called life worth living.

Sophia has worked as a nurse for twenty years, but has put that career path aside to devote her time and imagination to writing down the stories that keep her up nights.

She takes her love of the paranormal, history, and genealogy, and weaves them into tales of family, fated love, and supernatural occurrences.

Where to find Sophia…

Website | Facebook | Twitter

Life Is What You Make Of It!

Welcome to my Second Acts Series!

Today, we have prolific author Dormaine G chatting about the varied and rich life experiences that led to literary publication.

Here’s Dormaine!

dormaineThank you Joanne for inviting me to write for your segments on Second Acts.

Well, let me tell you a little something about me. I was born in New York but moved to Mississippi as a child. I went to Xavier University in New Orleans, Louisiana to study medicine then moved to Massachusetts for life experience. I needed more than the typical life routine. Eventually, I moved back to New York where I became a registered nurse and studied forensic nursing. After working a few years in New York as a nurse, I started doing travel nursing and loved it. Eventually, I decided to stop traveling, while in Colorado, to stay closer to family. Shortly after, I met my wonderful husband and have been here ever since.

Getting into writing wasn’t so much as triggered but forced. I worked as a triage nurse for a pharmaceutical company but the business relocated out of state. I believe things happen for a reason because it forced me to pursue my dream of writing. Even as a child, I have always had a love for science fiction and enjoyed it through books, movies and comics. I have dabbled in writing throughout the years, and realized it was time for me to take the plunge. Instead of going back to work immediately, I stayed home to write. I published my first novel titled Connor in late 2013. I plan on following up with a series of books under the Connor name. My other books are under the Madame Lilly saga and plan on having her around for many more years.

Presently, I am working with five other authors on a paranormal sampler titled Mysticism & Myths which is set to be released mid December. My book in the sampler is titled Micco, Anguta’s Reign which is set to be released this November. I’m also working on a third volume under the Madame Lilly series. Besides that, I will continue to write and produce the many tales that I have hidden in my room or stored in my head. I have met some wonderful people along this journey so far and will continue to maintain such relationships.

Although writing can leave you quite exposed, I find it to be liberating. I never imagined that I would be able to live such a dream because that’s exactly what it is- a dream. Now having experienced it, I would not give it up for anything. If you feel writing is something you must do then do so. Take that plunge if you can, but if you do, then it must be for yourself and not others. Not everyone will understand or even get it but that is all right as long as you know what you feel in your heart. Always be true to yourself and your literature.

“I believe the power of positive thinking” If you think it, then it shall be. You just have to believe.

“Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass; it’s about learning to dance in the rain.”

Dormaine’s Books

Micco (3)Micco, a captivating Native American man with a desirable physique and statuesque features, radiates a mysterious allure. Living on the reservation with his unapproachable father, he doesn’t believe in the old ways and works as a cop in the local town. The only reason he lives on the land is Nara, his childhood friend and the love of his life, who is married to a cruel reservation man.

Waking up in the heart of a murderous scene, he flees for his life, unfamiliar with his surroundings or how he arrived there. To his horror, he’s assigned to the case. As he works with the local detective, more murders transpire with unusual, terrifying sightings of wolves.

His behavior starts to drastically change, forcing others to take notice. Although trying to avoid the inevitable, Micco is forced to accept the undesirable truth, unable to fight what has been awakened, and all that he has forgotten is finally revealed.

connorConnor recently discovers she has the gift of invisibility among other gifts but what she doesn’t realize is that her life is about to change for the worse. She is fifteen, sarcastically funny, at least she thinks so, and doesn’t always like to face reality. She meets five other teenagers who have abilities similar to hers but not everyone is so eager to find answers as to why they are different.

Sensing their lives are in danger, she is determined to figure out the truth by any means necessary, forcing her to grow up fast. Connor is slapped with the cold, hard, fact that the people she thought she knew are not who they appear to be and all human beings are not just that human.

Through all of this, Connor and Tony, one other with abilities, start to develop feelings for each other causing jealousy in more ways than one. Then there is Ronin, who is young, smart, and breathtaking. He is set on taking his revenge out on Connor but she has no idea why.

MadameLillyThe time is 1890, the place, New Orleans, and Odara is lost to Madame Lilly, her soulless side—and she has not finished what she started. Unleashing two great forces, Theolus and Hearon, with ferocious appetites against her common-law husband, Henry Nicholas, is just the beginning of the end for Lilly—only she doesn’t know it yet.

For the spirits she raised took what was left of her humanity and left a piece of themselves within her; a piece that craves chaos. Needing to maintain control over them to do her bidding, Lilly must do what is required even if it means becoming more like them.

Tortured, scorned and damned, Lilly has one mission in life: Retribution.

madamelilly2In the late 1800’s Odara, a Creole girl in New Orleans, grew up wealthy and having the best of everything. She was taught the ways of plaçage: to be a wealthy man’s common-law wife. She didn’t want to follow the ways of plaçage as her mother had, until she met the man of her dreams, Henry Nicolas. He was handsome, charming and rich; perfect in every way until their first night of marriage when she saw his true malevolent side.

For twelve long years Odara endured abuse in the worst ways possible, taking her from a naive child to a scorned woman. A woman fueled with such revulsion towards Henry she would give anything for vengeance.

Through voodoo, Madame Lilly was born, but with it came consequences beyond even her comprehension.

Where to Find Dormaine

Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Amazon | Smashwords

Joanne here!

Dormaine, thank you for an inspiring post! Best of luck with all your literary endeavors.

Oprah and Pema Chödrön


Yesterday, Oprah welcomed prolific author and world-renowned Buddhist teacher Pema Chödrön to Super Soul Sunday.

Born Deirdre Blomfield-Brown in 1936, she followed a conventional path, attending a prestigious prep school and college before marrying and having children. Later, she divorced and married a second husband who, in turn, left her at age 35. Shocked and traumatized, it took her three years to grieve and then forge an extraordinary spiritual path from wife/mother to ordained Buddhist nun. Pema learned to embrace her authentic self at Gampo Abbey, a monastery on Cape Breton Island (Nova Scotia) where she is resident and teacher.

Throughout the telecast, Pema focused on what to do when one’s life falls apart. The knee jerk reaction is to run away. Instead, Pema recommends the practice of compassionate abiding with oneself: Breathe in the suffering (unwanted discontent) and be open to it. Be right there with the feeling, taking note of all thoughts. Then, breathe out and create a lot of space. She gently reminds us that nothing wrong has happened. Life is simply pointing us in a different direction.

Quotable Quotes…

If you don’t know the nature of fear, you can’t be fearless.

Fear is a natural reaction to moving closer to the truth.

The sun is always shining in the rain. It never went anywhere.

Let go of fear and ego to embrace your authentic self.

If you’re invested in security and certainty, then you are on the wrong planet.

We are one blink away from being fully awake.

Spirituality—Going beyond beliefs vs Religion—Holding onto beliefs

Fail. Fail again. Fail better

If You Don’t Have a Dream

Welcome to my Second Acts Series!

Today, we have author and public relations dynamo Adrienne Vaughan chatting about the importance of dreams.

Here’s Adrienne!

Adrienne and Winston

Adrienne and Winston

I’ve always loved that song, you know, the one from South Pacific, Happy Talk. It’s so true, if you don’t have a dream, how on earth are you going to make a dream come true?

There again, have you ever met anyone who doesn’t dream they were someone or something else? Most people wish for something different, but it’s the dreamers, and I mean the real dreamers who make a difference. Sighing and wishing achieves very little, as far as I can tell, it’s the proper, ‘let’s take this seriously’ dreamer who gets things done, changes themselves, their environment, the whole world if they mean too.

But it wasn’t until Joanne kindly invited me onto her blog, and I was giving this notion some thought, that I realised that’s exactly what I am, a serious dreamer!

I knew very definitely what my first act would be, from the age of seven I wanted to be a writer, no ifs or buts. I was given a Petite Typewriter and my fate was sealed. I wrote poems, plays, short stories and articles – pasting them together on the kitchen table, creating my own magazines.

My mother, taking a well-earned break with a cup of tea and a copy of Women’s Own, would open the pages and scream. I had usually chopped half of it out, leaving holes in the articles and no pictures to the features.

I was twelve when I decided I was going to be a journalist, ideally the editor of a glossy magazine, where I could meet and marry a rock star – David Bowie or Bryan Ferry were ideal potential husbands in my opinion – so I packed my dream in my suitcase and left Dublin to work in London, on a glossy pop magazine, of course.

Adrienne and Bryan Ferry

Adrienne and Bryan Ferry

Fast forward twenty five years and my career has turned from poacher to gamekeeper, I now run a busy PR practice, and my second act is well and truly upon me, emerging as part of my development as a writer, rather than a real need for change.

Writers write, it’s what they do, so of course I have any amount of half-baked novels under the bed, one is nearly thirty years old! But it wasn’t until I became involved with the Romantic Novelists’ Association, the New Romantics Press and Amazon that perhaps, my most serious dream came true. I published my first novel, The Hollow Heart and to finally hold my work in my hand as a real book was without doubt, one of the best feelings ever. Now, as I blearily edit my third novel, due out at the end of November, I keep pushing the dream on and it’s getting bigger and better.

My advice for anyone pursuing a second act? Use all the skills, contacts and determination you used pursuing your first. I would be nowhere without the RNA, Amazon and my precious chums, Lizzie Lamb, June Kearns and Mags Cullingford – and I wouldn’t even have known them without relentlessly pursuing my serious dream.

(l-r) Liz Harris, Pia Courtney, Talli Roland, Lizzie Lamb, Rowan Coleman, Julie Cohen and Adrienne Vaughan all pictured at Liz Fenwick’s book launch at Waterstones, Kensington High Street.

(l-r) Liz Harris, Pia Courtney, Talli Roland, Lizzie Lamb, Rowan Coleman, Julie Cohen and Adrienne Vaughan all pictured at Liz Fenwick’s book launch at Waterstones, Kensington High Street.

This is what’s stuck on my computer screen …She turned her can’ts into cans …and her dreams into plans! Go on, you can do it!

Moping about glumly wishing things could be different, if only I were rich, pretty, clever is never going to work is it.

Adrienne’s Books

coverthehollowheartMarianne Coltrane is a feisty,award-winning journalist who is far from lucky in love. Taking herself off to the wilds of the west of Ireland to recuperate, she literally runs into Ryan O’Gorman, the most conceited, infuriating man in the world. He’s an actor who’s just landed the biggest role in movie history and he loathes journalists. One thing they do have in common is they both think their chance of true love has passed them by…but fate has other ideas!

coverchangeofheartEscaping to a remote Irish isle, journalist Marianne Coltrane had not bargained for a tumultuous affair with movie star Ryan O’Gorman. When Ryan leaves to pursue his career, Marianne remains on the island to care for those who need her most, but Ryan soon realises he cannot live without her and returns to woo her back. Tricky enough without his problematic ex-wife or the contract he cannot break, but when a good deed puts all they treasure in jeopardy, it’s time to take stock and fight for what matters most…or is time running out for this charismatic couple and everything they hold dear?


AV-Author (2)Adrienne Vaughan’s books have been described as Maeve Binchy meets Jackie Collins – as these authors are two of her heroines, she thinks this is just fantastic!

Adrienne Vaughan has been making up stories since she could speak; as soon as she could pick up a pen she started writing them down. No surprise she wanted to be a journalist, ideally the editor of a glossy magazine, where she could meet and marry a rock star! Today she runs a busy PR practice, writing novels, poems and short stories in her spare time.

She was born in England, was brought up in Dublin and now lives in rural Leicestershire with her husband, two cocker spaniels and a rescue cat called Agatha Christie; she still harbours a burning ambition to be a Bond girl!

Adrienne is working on the final book in the Heartfelt trilogy Secrets of the Heart, which she intends to publish in November 2014. She has outlines for her next two books, which are set on the same island but feature different characters and storylines.

A member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s New Writers’ Scheme since 2012, Adrienne is the current editor of the RNA’s magazine Romance Matters and a founder member of the indie publishing group, The New Romantics Press. In her professional life she is a member of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations and the Chartered Institute of Journalists. She also holds a licence to drive a powerboat.

Where to find Adrienne…

Website | Amazon | Twitter | Facebook

Joanne here!

Adrienne, thank you for sharing your inspiring journey and providing wonderful advice and insights. Your books sound delicious. I’m putting them on my TBR list.