Built Myself Up Layer by Layer

I’m happy to welcome multi-published author Pamela Thibodeaux. Today, Pamela shares her inspiring reinvention story and her novel, My Heart Weeps.

Here’s Pamela!

Thank you, so much Joanne for hosting me on your incredible blog! I absolutely love the idea of reinvention. So many times in our lives we have to start over or ask for and take a second (or third, or fourth) chance for a do-over. Reminds me of those movies of people trading places so popular in the 80’s.

I guess you could say my first act, after being born into a great family with three brothers was marrying at the tender age of sixteen (yes, 16!). That union lasted ten years and sadly ended in divorce which brought about my first need for change. Five years later I married a wonderful man who died a short seventeen years afterward, throwing me into my 2nd second act and time of reinvention.

For most of my adult life I was someone’s wife or mother. After my husband’s death in 2009, I began the long and arduous journey from wife to widow to individual.

When I separated from my first husband (with no self esteem intact), I adopted the motto, “What you see is what you get. You like it? Good! You don’t? Hit the road, it’s your loss.” This was out of self preservation, not a sense of self worth or self love. With my second husband, I always felt beautiful and worthy in his eyes, but never in my own.

Years after being thrust into the dating scene—something I never felt comfortable with anyway—I learned the true meaning of self worth and self love. Now, when I say that motto, I know what I bring into a relationship, therefore I mean it on a deeper level.

Today I am happy with myself, my life and my relationships!

If anyone planning to pursue a second act would ask my advice, the first thing I would tell them is to work on their inner self and internal dialogue. After all, you’re going to take you into every aspect of your life so you might as well love and appreciate yourself! I built myself up layer by layer by writing and repeating positive ‘I Am’ affirmations….

I am love and I am loving. I am forgiven and I am forgiveness. I am healthy, whole and complete. I am beautiful. I am peaceful. I am joyful. I am happy and others are happy with me. I am (YOU fill in the blanks).

Read books like, You Can Heal Your Life and Mirror Work by Louise Hay, The Power of I Am by Joel Osteen and other similar titles. Positive affirmations are one of the kindest and most rewarding things you can do for yourself in any situation, but especially when you are in need of, or in the midst of change.

My Heart Weeps is Melena Rhyker’s second act—her journey from grief into new life and parallels my own.

Blurb

After thirty years married to the man of her dreams, Melena Rhyker is devastated by her husband’s death. Relief comes in the form of an artist’s retreat at the Crossed Penn ranch in Utopia, TX. She rediscovers a forgotten dream as her artistic talent flourishes into that of a gallery-worthy artist. Will she have the courage to follow the path she was destined to travel?

Garrett Saunders has been on the run most of his life. Abused and abandoned as a child, he escapes the clutches of a past filled with pain and shame, and hides from his calling as a Native American healer. His years as a CIA agent aid in overcoming his childhood and honing his talent and skill as a fine art photographer.

Follow their journey as two people who come from totally different backgrounds, but share gifts of gigantic proportions, find meaning and purpose in the Texas Hill Country.

Excerpt

At 6 p.m., she pulled into the carport, turned off the engine and laid her head on the steering wheel.

“Well, I’m home again. Made it through another agonizing eight hours or so, now to get through another night.”

Gathering every ounce of courage she could summon, she disembarked from her vehicle, retrieved the mail from the box beside the door, and entered the house. She thumbed through the envelopes and advertisements, then laid them on the table and poured a glass of juice. She reached for the bottle of over-the-counter pain reliever and froze.

It would be so easy to end this pain.

Oh, what an enticing thought. Just take a handful of pills and end it all. Would she wake up in heaven? Would Jesus meet her there? Would Jonathan? What about the kids or Mama—would they understand? Or would she destroy them? Where was the faith she claimed to have? Why was it failing her now?

Buy Links

Amazon US | Amazon CA | Amazon UK | Amazon AU

Author Bio

Award-winning author, Pamela S. Thibodeaux is the Co-Founder and a lifetime member of Bayou Writers Group in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Multi-published in romantic fiction as well as creative non-fiction, her writing has been tagged as, “Inspirational with an Edge!”™ and reviewed as “steamier and grittier than the typical Christian novel without decreasing the message.” Sign up to receive Pam’s newsletter and get a FREE short story!

Where to find Pamela…

Website | Blog | Newsletter | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Amazon Author Page | BookBub | Instagram

Checking In With Your Boundaries

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.

In a recent interview on Spirituality & Health magazine, therapist Nedra Glover Tawwab shared what she considers the four most important words in our increasingly chaotic world: Set Boundaries, Find Peace. Those words are also the title of her recent release.

Here’s a thought-provoking excerpt from that interview:

It is a spiritual practice to tune into yourself and consider the why of your feelings. What’s trying to come up that I may be trying to push down? What’s trying to be released that I need to let go of? Often, when we’re having uncomfortable feelings, there is a boundary that needs to be addressed.

Of course, we can’t live a life without uncomfortable feelings. But what are they trying to tell us? What things do we need to practice to deal with that feeling better, or even reconfigure the trigger for those feelings?

The real breakthrough is not, “Oh my gosh, I have an issue with anger.” The real breakthrough is realizing that when I put myself in situations where there are no boundaries, I have an issue with anger.

Source: Spirituality & Health, February 2021, p. 49

Adapt to What is Real

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.

A longtime fan of acclaimed psychologist Dr. Sonya Friedman, I like to reread many of the insightful passages from her best-selling books. Here’s one of my favorites from Take It From Here

In nature, chameleons adapt to the environment by changing color, blending in, and thus fooling predators. Nothing could be more descriptive of getting real and rolling with the punches. Although we’re a much higher form of life than a chameleon, capable of thinking and having a conscience, we can essentially do the same on another level: adapt to better fit into a personal environment of family, relationships, and work. You may have had twenty jobs in your life, or three failed marriages, and your bombs may be greater than your successes, but if you stretch your ability to adapt to what is real, you can gain the courage to keep going out there and, ultimately, achieve greater success.

Just Keep Showing Up and Shining Out!

Welcome to my Second Acts Series!

Today, we have Candace Colt sharing her multi-act life and Familiar Blessings, Book 1 in the Magic Potter Series.

Here’s Candace!

I’m honored to be a part of Joanne’s Second Act Series. Reading the other Second Act posts has been so inspiring, and I am sure you feel the same way. May I add that when you read another person’s story, and it doesn’t sound exactly like yours, perhaps you will find encouragement that change can be good no matter what the circumstances. Maybe you’ve already made a change (planned or unplanned). Another person’s story might give you the reassurance that you will be “okay.” The most important thing is this: have trust and faith in yourself!

First Act

“In my day,” a woman’s career options were a bit limited. That’s an understatement. Honestly, there few choices. Wife and mother (in tandem), nurse, airline stewardess, secretary, teacher. All worthy paths, yes. But even with a professional degree, many women quit the job after they got married. In my case, I got married, but I did not stop working. In fact, except for a few in-between-job periods, I worked full time until I retired in 2014.

I followed the teacher track and taught K-6 for several years. But then my husband’s job took us to a university town where teaching jobs were non-existent. Why? Because all the male grad students’ wives were teachers supporting their husbands. Does this sound familiar?

So, what’s a girl to do? Reinvention!

By some miracle, I was accepted into a Nuclear Medicine Technology program, with not much clue what that was! After graduation, I was hired, and naturally, I was the queen of the world! Then, a teaching job opened up in the field (college educator) that took me on a glorious seventeen-year journey. But then program funding disappeared, and there went that dream job! Another career change led me into entry-level college administration. Then to a college library director position (hello, I’m not a librarian!), where I had ten great years working with the best people in the world.

Fast Forward to the Second Act!

Retirement provided me the wherewithal to follow my heart to become a writer. Trust me, writing and promotion is full-time work, but I love it. Since I’ve retired, I’ve had nine books published in contemporary paranormal romance. By the way, each one has a wise older woman in the story. Imagine that?

I am nothing if not persistent. I don’t possess great intellectual genius. My changes were out of necessity rather than a master plan. If you ask me for advice, I will keep it simple. Paraphrasing my yoga teacher, no matter who you are or where you are in life,”Just keep showing up and shining out!”

Blurb

Familiar Blessings: The Magic Potter Series Book 1 (Cat’s Paw Cove Romance)

The magic begins when you trust your heart.

Tired of being hounded by the greedy dead, gifted medium Dr. Theodosia Blessing, the wonder-child of historians around the world, yearned for anonymity. After renouncing her magic, she reinvented herself as Theo, the potter. She returned to her hometown of Cat’s Paw Cove, Florida, where she lives with her familiar, a mind-reading tortoiseshell cat named Aloysius.

Former Army Ranger Ethan Cooper was content to live a reclusive life in his cabin in North Carolina. But as Christmas draws near, he agrees to repay a debt to an old man whose wise counsel brought him out of war’s dark shadow. Ethan accepts one last mission: to track down Theo.

Ethan appears unannounced on Theo’s doorstep with an envelope containing the old man’s letter. If what it says is true, the reluctant medium, skeptical Ranger, and wiseacre cat must travel back to 1720 to save a young boy from the gallows.

FAMILIAR BLESSINGS originally appeared in MEOWS & MISTLETOE, a Cat’s Paw Cove Romance Holiday Anthology. It won the 2019 Paranormal Romance Guild’s Reviewers’ Choice Award.

Excerpt

Curious but cautious, Theo hesitated, then carefully opened the parchment envelope and removed the folded paper.

She waved the letter at the stranger. “You drove all the way from North Carolina to give me this?”

“I suggested he could mail it certified, but he said it was too important. The old man’s my loyal friend, so I couldn’t refuse.”

Who was behind this? A stranger shows up with a letter an old man gave him. Sure.

Have I ever lied to you? Read it.

Theo glanced down at her cat, Aloysius. “Hush.” She noticed the man’s confusion. “Didn’t mean you.” He was obviously an Ordinary and hadn’t heard a word the cat said.

Theo cleared an imagined tickle in her throat and unfolded the paper. The ink had smudged in a few places, but the handwriting was legible. Her archivist expertise told her this was written in old English. F was used for S. The sentences were sprinkled with thee and thou.

In her former university position, she had analyzed documents like this before. Why would someone want this one hand-carried all the way to Florida when there were competent researchers in North Carolina?

Aloysius gave her ankle a ‘get-on-with-it’ shove. Read it out loud so the human can hear.

“All right, already.” She took a breath and began reading.

Dearest Theodosia,

I suspect thou hast many concerns about the manner in which this letter came to thee.

Please read it to the end. Trust ’tis written with the intentions of someone who loved and has watched over thee since thee was born.

Theodosia Blessing, thou comest from an old family. Thy God-given gift must continue–.

Theo’s throat tightened, and words bunched inside. Besides her family, only one living being on this earth knew her reason to abandon the magic: the ten-pound cat sitting at her feet.

Buy/Read

Candace’s Cat’s Paw Cove Romance Books are available on Amazon.

Candace’s Nocturne Falls Universe Books are available here:

Kindle | iBooks | Nook | Kobo

About the Author

Candace Colt lives the good life on Florida’s west coast with her husband of 48 years. After careers in education and the medical field, she launched her second life as a writer. Since she retired, she’s published nine paranormal romance books. She chose paranormal because it’s fun to write and because even shape-shifters, elves, psychics and time travelers deserve their happily ever after.

Links

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | Amazon Author Page | Bookbub | Goodreads

Sometimes Running Away Really Works

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.

While cleaning out my files, I came across the following post from Elizabeth Gilbert, best-selling author of Eat, Pray, Love and City of Girls.

I know there are a lot of arguments AGAINST running away. I know that running away from your problems can be a coward’s path. I know there are some issues in life that you can’t avoid forever. I know that in the recovery world, they call running away “pulling a geographic”–and addicts are wisely advised against trying it. I now that wherever you go, there you are. I know that there are times in life when you have to stay right where you are, and deal with things bravely and head-on.

And I am certainly familiar with the old adage: “You can’t change deck chairs on the Titanic.”

But you know what I always think when I hear that adage? THERE WERE SOME PEOPLE ON THE TITANIC WHO SURVIVED. And largely, the people who survived did so based upon where they were placed, geographically, on that ship. (Which had a lot to do with social class and injustice, I know–but for the sake of my argument, just go along with me on this…) In other words, there actually WERE some deck chairs on the Titanic that were better placed than others.

Which means: Sometimes there IS a better place for you to be, geographically, than where you are right now.

Sometimes there IS a safer place.

Sometimes there IS a more inspiring place.

Sometimes going two or three thousand miles away and changing your name really CAN change things–helping you to get away from bad old habits and bad old influences, and letting you become somebody new.

Sometimes running away CAN offer you a better chance of surviving your own life–getting you out of third-class steerage, let us say, and moving you closer to the front of the ship, to the top of the ship, where the light and the lifeboats are.

I truly believe this.

Sometimes running away really, really, really does work.



Grab That Dream and Shake the Stuffing Out of It

Welcome to my Second Acts Series!

Today, we have multi-genre author D.V. Stone sharing an inspirational post about her life journey.

Here’s Donna!

Briefly describe your first act.

Daughter, wife, mom, employee, volunteer EMT, we all have a variation of the first act, don’t we? We’re young and have hopes and dreams of who we want to be and where we want to be. The idea that love lasts forever. Children will be exactly who we want them to be. Our job is something we leap out of bed in the morning to get to. Our life will make a difference.

Then the reality hits. We learn love doesn’t last for everyone. Illness strikes. Your child decides to leave and go live with his father. A second job is needed to make ends meet. Anyone living the fantasy in paradise? Of course, to various degrees, not. Different times and challenges often suck the joy and hope out of us.

What triggered the need for change?

Everyone’s triggers are different and can happen in a series of unfortunate events. (Did you just think of Lemony Snicket?) My triggers were a series. Divorce in my early thirties. Re-marriage (this time a keeper). The child mentioned above moved out and broke my heart. A second job is needed to make ends meet. Then business failures. Don’t stop here and think it’s all bad all the time. This is real life, remember? Not the impossible images of the perfect family on TV and in commercials. But it’s the nitty-gritty life that is often messy. Then came not the most significant trigger, but the one that brought me to today. Today where I’m sitting and typing this. I worked at a job for nine years. It was the one I most enjoyed. One where I felt I made a difference most days. One of those days, I showed up for work, then was shown the door. It was a time when the economy tanking had hit hard, and my position was eliminated. Unemployed for the first time in almost thirty years. After a few weeks of feeling sorry for myself, the thought came, “You finally have time. What do you want to be when you grow up?” I grabbed my computer.

Where are you now?

So here I am today. I have five published books—both independent and traditionally published. I run two different author blogs. I’m back at work but not for long. The Third Act retirement is beckoning, and when you read this, it’s only a month away. My DH and I bought a camper, and we’re planning on seeing the country. I have so many books and pieces of books I’m itching to get to. So this show is going on the road.

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

Fear nearly brought my publishing dreams to a halt. What if nobody likes my writing? What if I make a fool out of myself? What if I’m just bad at it? My advice is more of a question. Who are you going to listen to? The voice that says you can’t? Or are you going to take a leap of faith to grab that dream and shake the stuffing out of it? Tear it up and put it back together in a way that works for you—today. Don’t let old dreams pass by unfulfilled. Take them out of the box you’ve shoved them into. Look at them. Really look. They may be unrealistic. But maybe we can make it a more reasonable achievement. You may never be the princess of your youthful dreams. But you can write about one. Perhaps even in the first person. Have you always dreamed of being a singer? Same thing. Even if you can’t sing worth a dime, you’ll always have music. What were your dreams, and how can they be brought forward to today?

Any affirmations or quotations you wish to share?

I love this quote.

“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.” — Maya Angelou

Blurb

Aden House, successful but driven chef and TV personality, refuses to slow down. His life implodes one night, damaging him both physically and emotionally. He’s rescued by a woman he thinks of as his angel.

Shay McDowell has rebuilt her life after her divorce. She juggles volunteer EMT duties and her job, while dreaming of becoming a chef. She finds her way to Rock House Grill and back into the life of the man she helped save.

Can love be the ingredient needed to survive the many obstacles they face?

Excerpt

“Easy, you’re going to be okay.” A soft voice eased through the chaos around him. The owner of the voice grabbed his arms and held them in a firm but gentle grip. “I’m right here with you. You are not alone.” “Can hardly m-move.” His voice slurred. “C-can’t see anything.” “You’ve been in an accident. I’m an EMT with the ambulance squad,” the velvety voice calmly explained. “You can’t see well because we’re under a tarp. Hold still, okay?” “‘K.” A small light flickered at the edge of his vision. It shone into a bag next to him. Penlight. “You’re restrained to a board. It’s to keep your head from moving and causing more injury.” She continued to talk to him. The voice reached down somewhere inside him, calming and peaceful, so he focused on it. A glow from spotlights on the outside lit whatever covered them. The shadow gave the woman the appearance of a halo—like an angel.

Buy Links

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBook | Google Books | Kobo

Author Bio

Hi, my name is D. V. Stone. I am a multi-genre author of two independently published books. Felice, Shield-Mates of Dar is a fantasy romance. Agent Sam Carter and the Mystery at Branch Lake is a mid-grade paranormal. Recently, Rock House Grill was released by Wild Rose Press. Rainbow Sprinkles, a novella released on July 8th. I also host Welcome to the Campfire and A Peek Through the Window, both weekly blogs. Here’s a little more about me.

Born in Brooklyn, D.V. Stone has moved around a bit and even lived for a time on a dairy farm in Minnesota before moving back east. Throughout her wandering, she always considered herself a Jersey Girl. She met and married the love of her life, Pete—a lifelong Jersey Man, and moved this time to Sussex County. They live with Hali, a mixed breed from the local shelter, and their cat Baby.

D.V.’s career path varied from working with the disabled to become a volunteer EMT, which in turn led to working in hospital emergency rooms and then in a women’s state prison. After a few years, she took a break from medicine and became the owner of Heavenly Brew, a specialty coffee shop in Sparta, NJ, and a small restaurant in Lafayette. Life handed some setbacks, and she ended up back in the medical field, but this time in a veterinary emergency hospital.

“Thank you for taking the time to read about me. Each time you open the pages to one of my books, I hope you’ll be swept away by the story and find encouragement in your own life, never to give up on hope.”

Where to find D.V. Stone…

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | Bookbub | Goodreads | Newsletter | Amazon Author Page

One-Stop Link

Other Books by D. V. Stone

Rainbow Sprinkles
After the storm come the rainbows.

Felice, Shield-Mates of Dar
One foolish thought. One brutal act. Instead of a peaceful alliance––war.

Agent Sam Carter and the Mystery at Branch Lake
A Mid-grade paranormal

Australia Burns
Anthology – Contributing Author

How to Make Calmness Your Superpower

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.

A longtime fan of bestselling authors and coaches Marc and Angel Chernoff, I look forward to receiving their daily emails. Here’s a recent message that articulates the importance of self-love.

The ability to not overreact or take things personally keeps your mind clear and your heart at peace.

And yes, by being a conscious witness of your thoughts, YOU CAN get rid of all the stress inside you created by others, the past and uncontrollable recent events…

It’s about sitting quietly and witnessing the thoughts passing through you. Just witnessing at first—not judging—because by judging too rapidly you have lost the pure witness. The moment you rush to say, “this is good” or “this is bad,” you have already jumped head first into the stress.

Of course, it takes a little time and practice to create a gap between the witnessing of thoughts and your reaction to them. Once the gap is there, though, you are in for a great surprise—that you are not the thoughts themselves, nor the stress influencing them. You are the witness, a watcher, who’s superpower is changing your mind and rising above the turmoil.

This process of thought-watching is the very alchemy of true mindfulness. As you become more and more deeply rooted in witnessing, the stressful thoughts start disappearing. You are thinking, but the mind is empty of senseless chatter. It’s a moment of enlightenment—a moment that you become, perhaps for the first time, an unconditioned, sane, truly free human being.

So today, let this be your reminder to let all the small annoyances go. Move through your day consciously. Notice at least one insignificant little frustration that you would normally get frustrated about, then do yourself a favor and simply let it go. Experience, in this little way, the freedom of being in control of the way you feel. And realize that you can extend this same level of control to every situation you encounter in life.

At almost any given moment, the way you feel is the way you choose to feel, and the way you react is the way you choose to react.

When you think better, you live better.

Note: I highly recommend subscribing to Marc & Angel’s website.


The Space to Grow

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.

In her recent post, “Six Writing Lessons from an Actual Backyard Gardner,” Kelsey Allagood shared the following anecdote:

I have an aloe vera plant in my office. Her name is Alice. Alice came to me in a cute little terra cotta pot, and has followed me from sunny windowsill to sunny windowsill through a move across state lines. You could say we’re pretty close.

A few months ago, I noticed Alice wasn’t doing well. She was wilting, and the tips of her leaves were turning yellow and withering. She wasn’t growing at all.

After some experiments in watering and sunlight levels, I gently picked Alice up out of her pot to look at her roots. It turns out Alice was rootbound, and the thin white threads of her roots were filling up the potting soil and beginning to curl around the bottom of the pot itself.

Once I realized that Alice was root-bound, I quickly transferred her to a bigger pot, about three times the diameter of her first pot, and filled with new soil formulated specifically for succulents.

The next day, Alice was a new plant.

She’d perked up. Her leaves were now a vibrant green. I snipped off the ends that had turned yellow, and they healed themselves up. Her leaves are reaching up toward the sun and spreading wide, and she’s sprouting new ones.

Be like Alice.

And by that, I mean give yourself and your work the space to grow.

Read the rest of Kelsey’s post here.

Trust That Little Voice Within

Welcome to my Second Acts Series!

Today, we have Guelph author Wendy Stross sharing her inspiring reinvention story and first novel, A Love to Behold.

Here’s Wendy!

Act One

When contemplating this blog and what to share, I realize that throughout my life I have had various endeavours, various acts, and consider myself to be very much a student of life. With that said, at the age of nineteen, I became a registered nurse working in a downtown Toronto hospital. I worked on a surgical unit, part of which was directed to the treatment and care of patients with lung cancer. Once, when working a night shift, a couple of nurses and I were talking about what we would do if, at some time, we stopped nursing. “A writer,” I replied without thinking. My answer took me by surprise. I thought, “Now where did that come from?” I could never have imagined that one day I would hold a Ph.D. in History from the University of Toronto, and later still, write and publish a novel, A Love to Behold. So, how did I get from nurse to writer?

Years later when my husband and I had moved to Guelph and my children were in school, I registered as a full-time student at the local university. At the time, I had absolutely no interest in taking history. Truthfully, when in high school, if someone had told me one day I would become an historian, I would have told them they were crazy. History then was about kings, people with money, and those who held political, legal and/or religious power. There were few, if any, women, children – no ordinary individuals such as myself. As such, the subject held little interest for me. But, timing is everything. Two decades later when I returned to university, history as a discipline of study was undergoing significant changes. It was about social and cultural history, directed to including those individuals who had previously been ignored, silenced, excluded from the historical narrative. I thought, “Okay, this interests me.”

This new history demanded a great imagination. One had to examine old sources in new ways, to imagine new possibilities of discovering and learning about those individuals who had been ghosted from the past. In looking at old sources in new ways, historians were coming to new understandings about the past. I found this new direction exciting. I don’t think it was an accident that at the same time I was doing my Ph.D., my interest in spirituality was sparked, first through reading, then being a member of a goddess circle, and attending various spiritual workshops. Again, it was about expanding my worldview, using my imagination.

What triggered the need for change?

After earning my doctorate, for the next few years, I did some contract work and volunteering at the local city museum. Initially, I loved the experience of working in my community, discovering its past through material culture. But over time, I had this feeling that I didn’t belong there anymore. At the same time, both my parents were ill and I felt drained, physically, emotionally, and mentally. And even though I had no idea what I was going to do next, I decided to leave.

Where am I now?

So, why turn to fiction? In nursing, in the study of history and in working at the museum, I came upon a world of stories, past and present, stories we tell ourselves, stories that shape who we are. I became interested in the possibilities of these stories – possibilities not just seen, but the unseen, the undocumented, the unexplored possibilities imagined, but perhaps not written about.

When doing a doctorate in history, it was necessary to write something original, something new yet to be addressed. And so, when turning to fiction, I wanted to write something unique, a different kind of love story. A couple of years earlier I had heard a woman on the radio talk about the love and relationship she had shared with her twin flame. She described their love as deeply respectful and unconditional, one that consistently honoured the other’s choices and situations. I began to wonder what that kind of relationship would look like. How would it manifest in an ordinary life? And what would that look like if one twin flame was still alive, but one was dead and across the veil? A Love to Behold is the product of my wondering, my imagining.

It was only as I was preparing for the virtual book launch of A Love to Behold, that I came to fully appreciate all that I have accomplished. For a long time, I questioned what I was doing in terms of my career. To be a writer was something I never could have imagined for myself. And the fact that I have written and published my first novel is amazing to me.

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

The best advice I ever received was from my husband. My first written assignment as a university student was a philosophy paper on Plato’s Republic. Prior to this, the extent of my writing had been the weekly grocery list. The Saturday before the essay was due, I went up to my study. Hours passed, and finally my husband came upstairs and dared to ask me how it was going.

I burst out crying. “I can’t do this! It’s too hard!” In all that time, I had not been able to put a single word down on paper.

Once my husband had recovered from his shock, he said, “Wendy, it doesn’t have to be perfect. Just write down your thoughts, and slowly it will come to you. You can always go back and edit it.”

While he was talking about writing, I think it is true for life in general. Beginning anything new is scary, and it is hard. Looking back on my journey from nurse, to historian, and now novelist, I have come to appreciate how much courage it took to keep going. I remember handing in a draft of my first chapter of my doctoral thesis to my supervisor who then returned it with comments. I asked him if I should edit it. He answered, “No. Keep going. It is only when you reach the end that you will finally know what your book is about.” Wise words, I still hold dear.

Affirmation to Share

Love yourself and be kind to yourself. Trust that little voice within, even if at times, it seems to make no sense. It is leading you somewhere, someplace that you can’t even imagine – yet.

Blurb

This is the story of Anne and Archie. Boy meets Girl. Boy loses Girl. Boy finally gets Girl. Sounds ordinary? Well yes, until you realize Boy meets Girl, and they are together for three months. Boy loses Girl for forty-three years, and does not get Girl until after his death when he returns to tell her she was the love of his life. It is an amazing love story, full of promise, hardship, and the growing awareness of the immense and unconditional love shared by these twin flames.

Excerpt

As she turned the key in the ignition, Anne decided to stop at “the Gathering” – an annual event sponsored by a local store that specialized in spirituality. It was around 10:30 and the church auditorium was humming with activity. Tables of the various vendors, healers, and mediums were scattered throughout the room.

Jennifer, a friend, called to her, “Hey kid, what are you doing here?”

“Probably procrastinating! I’ve never been to this event and was curious.” Jennifer was an energy practitioner who did Reiki and Reflexology, and Anne asked if she had a table here.

Jennifer said no, that this kind of event was not conducive to the healing work she did – too busy and noisy. “Actually, I’m just leaving. My daughter has dance in an hour. See you at Friday yoga?”

Anne nodded, waved bye and started to wander. Everything from aromatherapy, crystals, jewelry, Christmas decorations and baking, as well as various healers offering their services were to be found in this one room. She was thinking she should go when from the corner of her eye, she spotted a woman seated at a table; her sign read “Susan Barker, Psychic Medium – Readings – $60 for 30 minutes.” Anne had had readings from psychics before, some good, some not so good. She was not familiar with this one. Anne circled the room once more, but found herself drawn back to psychic Sue. Ms. Barker looked to be around fifty, heavy-set, and reminded Anne of a beloved great-aunt. She was free at the moment, so Anne paid her money and sat down for a reading.

For the first fifteen minutes or so, the medium was pretty on track. Anne’s grandmother had come through, saying Anne had come by her love of books from her.

“Was there something at the end whereby she couldn’t talk?”

“Yes, she had a stroke that affected her throat. She could neither swallow nor speak at the end.”

The psychic said that her grandmother regretted she was unable to say some of the things she had wanted to say. That she was very proud of Anne and of all she had accomplished while being a wife and mother. Moments later, Sue looked above Anne’s head, her eyes widening in surprise.

“Your soulmate’s here, standing behind you!”

Stunned, Anne leaned forward to ensure she had heard correctly. “I’m sorry. What?” And then, shaking her head, she said, “You must be mistaken. I’ve been married over forty years and to my knowledge, my husband is very much alive.”

Bio

Throughout her life, Wendy has had various endeavours and considers herself to be very much a student of life. As well as being a wife, mother, and grandmother, she has been a registered nurse, has a Ph.D. in History from the University of Toronto, and has earned a Certificate in Museum Studies from the Ontario Museum Association.

The common thread underlying all her pursuits is Wendy’s lifelong passion for all things spiritual and unknown. At one point in her life, Wendy was a member of a goddess circle. The goddess experience, being part of a circle of women, opened Wendy up to the possibilities of magic in the world, to the possibilities within herself.

Over the last few years, she has attended various spiritual workshops which further fueled her interest in subjects such as soul contracts, soul ages, reincarnation, and meditation, prayer, dreams – all means by which one is able to connect with the wisdom of Spirit, God, one’s High Self, spirit guides and angels. And Wendy was astounded to learn that she could converse with and access the wisdom of her soul, her High Self, God, her spirit guides and angels through various means. The understanding that one could communicate with those spirits across the veil, that across the veil relationships were real and are possible served as inspiration for A Love to Behold, her first novel.

So, why turn to fiction? In the study of cultural and social history, in efforts to gain a more inclusive understanding and vision of the past, Wendy came upon a world of stories, past and present, stories we tell ourselves, the stories that shape who we are. And she became interested in the possibilities of these stories – possibilities not just seen, but the unseen, the undocumented, the unexplored possibilities imagined but perhaps not written about.

Wendy has long desired to write a novel, a love story, about the immense and unconditional love shared by twin flames. What would that kind of love and relationship look like? How would it manifest in an ordinary life? And what would that look like if one twin flame was still alive, but one was dead and across the veil? A Love to Behold is the product of Wendy’s wondering – her imagining.

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The recording of the virtual book launch of A Love To Behold on March 7th is now on YouTube. Here’s the link.