Giveaway ~ 8th Anniversary Party

Today, I’m participating in an Anniversary Party sponsored by The Romance Reviews. Along with INSERT other authors, I’m offering a prize to one lucky winner.

Scroll down here and look for my question:

How many former students agreed to participate in the séance?
(Note: You will get a clue)

Answer correctly and you could win an e-book of A Different Kind of Reunion.


Advertisements

Dealing with the Facts

On Wednesdays, I share posts, fables, songs, poems, quotations, TEDx Talks, cartoons, and books that have inspired and motivated me on my writing journey. I hope these posts will give writers, artists, and other creatives a mid-week boost.

Years ago, I read Marshall Goldsmith’s book, MOJO: How to Get It, How to Keep It, How to Get It Back If You Lose It. At the time, I was dealing with some personal challenges and needed to get myself back on track. Here’s one passage that continues to resonate with me.

Waiting for the facts to change–instead of dealing with the facts as they are–is a common response to a setback. It’s the response of the owner of a dying business who refuses to cut costs or lay off workers during a continued downturn because a turnaround is just around the corner. It’s the response of a shopkeeper in a decaying part of town who gamely sticks to his product line and his way of doing business even as customers disappear, revenue shrinks, and neighboring stores shut down. The area will come back, he thinks; it can’t simply vanish.

When people wait for discomfiting facts to change into something more to their liking, they’re basically engaging in wishful thinking. It’s the opposite of over-committing because it leads to underacting (or under-committing and not acting at all). Instead of doing something, you’re frozen in place while you wait for a more comforting set of facts to appear. In a world that’s constantly rushing forward, this is akin to moving backward. That’s a mojo killer.

When the facts are not to your liking, ask yourself, “What path would I take if I knew that the situation would not get better?” Then get ready to do that. If the world changes in your favor, you haven’t lost anything. If the facts do not change, you are more ready to face the new world.

Source: MOJO: How to Get It, How to Keep It, How to Get It Back If You Lose It by Marshall Goldsmith


In Praise of Napping

Today is National Napping Day, a day created by Camille and Dr. William Anthony in 1999 to spotlight the healthy benefits of catching up on quality sleep. Dr. Anthony noted: “We chose this particular Monday because Americans (and Canadians) are more ‘nap-ready’ than usual after losing an hour of sleep to daylight saving time.”

The benefits of napping are many, among them improvements in mental health and working memory (the ability to focus on one task while retaining others in memory) and reduction of coronary mortality. In a recent Greek study, researchers discovered that participants taking daily naps had a 37% less chance of contracting a fatal heart condition.

There is, however, one major disadvantage to napping: A nap is not a permanent solution to reaching daily sleep quotas. Sleep specialist Dr. David Dinges notes: “Naps cannot replace adequate recovery sleep over many days.”

Also, long naps (more than 30 minutes) can result in sleep inertia. As these nappers awaken from deep periods of sleep, they can experience grogginess and disorientation. While these feelings will dissipate within thirty minutes, they can affect performance in high-level tasks.

Afraid of being labeled lazy and slothful, some nappers downplay or conceal this daily practice. Non-nappers hesitate to start the practice, fearing they will develop some form of sleep inertia.

Wherever you are on this continuum, take a few minutes and read about ten high-powered historical figures who celebrated their napping and resulting productivity.

Winston Churchill

Sir Winston regarded a nap between lunch and dinner as essential for maintaining the kind of clear thinking he employed during World War II. In The Gathering Storm, he wrote: “Nature has not intended mankind to work from eight in the morning until midnight without that refreshment of blessed oblivion which, even if it only lasts twenty minutes, is sufficient to renew all the vital forces.”

Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Coleridge took what can be considered one of the most famous naps in English literature. After waking up from a three-hour nap, he stumbled to his desk and penned the poem, “Kubla Khan.” He believed in seizing the thread of a dream immediately upon awakening and then taking action.

Leonardo Da Vinci

While painting the Mona Lisa, Da Vinci slept only hours each night and took 15-minute naps every four hours. He criticized people who slept long hours each evening, commenting that there’s plenty of time to sleep when we die.

Salvador Dali

The founder of the micro-nap or what he called “slumber with a key,” Catalan artist Salvador Dali napped to stimulate his creativity. He started by sitting upright in an armchair, holding a heavy metal key in his hand. He then placed a metal plate upside down underneath the hand holding the key. Once that was in place, he allowed himself to fall asleep. Once that happened, he dropped the key which hit the plate and made a loud noise. All of this occurred within one-quarter of a second, enough time to revive his physical and psychic being.

Thomas Edison

All that Edison could manage was three to four hours of sleep each night. To compensate and inspire creativity, he power napped throughout the day, adopting a variation of Salvador Dali’s method. Edison held a handful of ball bearings that would clatter to the floor and wake him.

Albert Einstein

Einstein claimed that he needed 10 hours of sleep each night and frequent naps throughout the day. Like Salvador Dali, he practiced micro-napping; each nap lasted only seconds and was designed to boost creativity.

John F. Kennedy

President Kennedy and Mrs. Kennedy enjoyed a one- to two-hour nap each afternoon. Blinds were drawn, and no interruptions were allowed; his staff had strict orders not to disturb him for any reason.

Napoleon

While Napoleon could go for days without lying down for a full night’s sleep, he had the ability to fall asleep at the drop of a hat. Right before battle, he would sleep like a baby, oblivious to approaching cannons. After the battle was over, he would sleep for eighteen hours.

Eleanor Roosevelt

One of the most influential First Ladies in U.S. history, Mrs. Roosevelt sat on committees and gave speeches. Before each speech or public talk, she would sneak in a nap to refresh her mind and body.

Margaret Thatcher

During her tenure as Prime Minister, Lady Thatcher slept four to five hours each night and had a scheduled one-hour nap each afternoon. No one dared disturb her during that time.

Happy National Napping Day!


An Inspiring #85Event with Lisa LaFlamme and Michelle Shephard

Friday evening, I drove to the central branch of the Kitchener Public Library to hear two trailblazers—Lisa LaFlamme and Michelle Shephard–speak about their careers and the challenges of women in the media.

As Chief News Anchor and Senior Editor of CTV National News since 2011, Lisa LaFlamme is well-known throughout the country. She received a very warm welcome in Kitchener, which happens to be her hometown.

An award-winning journalist, best-selling author, and filmmaker, Michelle Shephard is an investigative reporter with the Toronto Star.

Rosie Del Campo, co-host and producer of CTV Kitchener News at 5, moderated the inspirational and informative conversation that kept all of us well entertained.

L-R: Michelle Shephard, Lisa LaFlamme, Rosie Del Campo

Both women enjoyed writing during their childhood and teen years.

In Grade 9, Lisa made an appointment with her guidance counselor to discuss a possible career in writing. The woman advised her to take physics, a subject she has never had to fall back upon during her 30+ career. She enrolled in the Communications program at the University of Ottawa and obtained a job at CTV Kitchener (then named CKCO). Prior to obtaining the Anchor chair, Lisa spent a decade on the road as National Affairs Correspondent, covering everything from elections to natural disasters to wars.

After Michelle received her Bachelor of Arts degree, she considered law school, even applying to write LSAT, but ended up in journalism school. Upon graduation, she obtained a position at the Toronto Star. 9/11 was the turning point in her career. The previous day, she had covered a story about a purse snatcher in Scarborough. As soon as she heard the news, she set out for Ground Zero. Covering 9/11 began her career as a national security reporter.

Both women possess that rare combination of curiosity, passion, and fearlessness that has enabled them to survive and thrive in war zones and their workplaces. They believe that gender works to their advantage in other countries, allowing them to access other women and share their stories. Something that male journalists cannot do.

I was shocked by some of the experiences shared. The most memorable: Women in some parts of the world must take their children into their hospital beds or prison cells if they become ill or incarcerated. Childcare is not a husband’s responsibility.

In spite of the many dangers, Lisa describes the war zone as a very simple life. You have to stay alive and tell a story. You don’t have to worry about doing housework, picking up children, running errands, or any of the many daily activities of “normal” life.

Looking back at their professional lives, both women spoke about the many changes, in particular, the increase in full-time female reporters. But men still dominate in the boardroom.

When an audience member asked about sources for news items, Lisa noted that most of the experts are male. She has made concerted efforts to find female doctors, lawyers, and other experts but has encountered resistance. While many women will express their opinions in the print media, they are reluctant to appear on television. Lisa cites concern with their appearance as a factor.

Both women addressed the dark side of social media. After receiving daily threats during the 2015 election, Lisa curtailed her use of Twitter. She uses it primarily as a news feed. Michelle believes that social media is bad for all women but far worse for women of color.

Lisa feels very strongly about the escalating poison of social media. “We need to find ways to corral this poison and shut it down. We are in charge of what we read and watch. We give too much power to social media.”

When asked about their mentors, Lisa named her mother and sisters while Michelle gave the nod to a close friend in the audience. Their workplace mentors have been primarily males. Both women admitted they received a lot of help and support on their respective journeys. And they’re both actively mentoring younger generations of journalists.


Reawaken Your Creativity

On Wednesdays, I share posts, fables, songs, poems, quotations, TEDx Talks, cartoons, and books that have inspired and motivated me on my writing journey. I hope these posts will give writers, artists, and other creatives a mid-week boost.

At this time of year, it can be difficult to motivate ourselves. If you’re experiencing the winter doldrums, try reawakening your creativity with one of these suggestions.



Spotlight on Romancing Rebecca

I’m happy to welcome January Bain. Today, January shares her latest release, Romancing Rebecca.

Blurb

Canadian romance writer Rebecca Fairfax thinks a few months living in an English castle will allow her to test out her research theories about the castle and get new material for her writing. Oh, and she’ll be able to carry out her Brass Ring Sorority sisters’ dare to kiss a duke, too. Only, the whole experience ends up changing her life in a way she could never have seen coming…

Ash Piers isn’t interested in peerage and titles. He’s a freewheeling playboy who’s adopted a hedonistic lifestyle after a disastrous love affair. He thinks the upstart Canadian is a gold-digger of the worst kind, kissing his father, the Duke of Piers, on first greeting, then getting engaged to him a moment later! But, damn, he’s attracted to the woman who’s living in his home for the summer. How’s he, a red-blooded Englishman, supposed to keep his hands off her as propriety and family demand?

But with the castle lurching from one crisis to another, Ash and Rebecca have to work together to ensure his family make it through events that threaten to tear everyone apart. And when an ancient and deadly danger looms, both Ash and Rebecca are forced to conquer all fear—physical and emotional…

Part madcap caper, part serious treasure hunting, the Brass Ringers never fail to entertain or get their way!

Excerpt

“That woman stole your Fabergé egg,” the thief accused, pointing a rigid forefinger at her, one she instantly wanted to bite off.

“That’s not what happened, and you darn well know it!” Adrenaline flooded her system. The unmitigated gall. “I was chasing you!”

“She’s lying!” he said.

She took her eyes off the obnoxious pants-on-fire thief for a second, glancing around to see who had finally shown up to help, expecting perhaps the errant tour guide. But it wasn’t him. He hadn’t looked at all like a legendary ruler such as Uther Pendragon or King Arthur in his yellow safety vest. But this man did. Oh boy, does he. As though he had walked straight out of The Mists of Avalon or The Once and Future King, standing there with his arms crossed, glaring at the two of them as if they were in cahoots. From his thick brown hair falling forward onto his forehead to curl just right, to his chiselled facial features that spoke of centuries of good breeding, he would make the perfect lead in any movie that required a hot, over-the-top-sexy hero.

Oh. My.

She swallowed hard, her mouth suddenly too parched to be able to speak a word. Xaviera, we’ve got the guy to play your hero in your swan song, that’s for damn sure. He was also the perfect protagonist for the historical literary book she envisioned using this castle location for, now that she was preparing to make the break from writing steamy romances. Finally.

“You can both come with me. I’ll need to get to the bottom of things.” His fine British accent tugged at something deep inside her.

“You don’t believe this lying sack of sh—this idiot,” she said, clearing her throat, self-correcting at the last second, with how cultured the man sounded and not her wanting to make a poor impression. He offered her his hand and she took it. Whoa. Nice strong hands, too. He helped her to her feet, blessing her with a stern look. Fine, play it that way. Anger rose at the unfairness of his accusations. At least it ratcheted down her libido.

“I just got here. How am I supposed to know who’s lying and who’s not? Are you okay?”

buynow

Author Bio and Links

January Bain has wished on every falling star, every blown-out birthday candle, and every coin thrown in a fountain to be a storyteller. To share the tales of high adventure, mysteries, and thrillers she has dreamed of all her life. The story you now have in your hands is the compilation of a lot of things manifesting itself for this special series. Hundreds of hours spent researching the unusual and the mundane have come together to create books that features strong women who live life to the fullest, wild adventures full of twists and unforeseen turns, and hot complicated men who aren’t afraid to take risks. She can only hope her stories will capture your imagination and heart as much as they do hers.

If you are looking for January Bain, you can find her hard at work every morning without fail in her office with two furry babies trying to prove who does a better job of guarding the doorway. And, of course, she’s married to the most romantic man!

If you wish to connect in the virtual world she is easily found on Facebook, her second home. Oh, and she loves to talk books…

Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Email

Giveaway

January Bain will be awarding a Paypal $25.00 cash payout to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour. Find out more here.

Follow January on the rest of her Goddess Fish tour here.