On the Road to Romancelandia

Welcome to my Second Acts Series!

Today, Wild Rose Press author Charlotte O’Shay shares a dramatic career change and her new release, Their No-Strings Affair.

Here’s Charlotte!

Joanne, It’s my pleasure to visit your uplifting and warm blog. My topic today is my second act. Keep reading and comment to enter the contest.

My first career was in the law. The law definitely didn’t choose me. I chose the law to obtain a professional degree that would pay the rent. (Totally unlike my husband, also an attorney, who dreamed of being a lawyer from the time he was a kid. Yes, he really did. He’s very cute that way.) As a lawyer I excelled at writing memoranda and legal briefs, I was good at amassing research to make my arguments and prove my points. I was told I was a good writer. I worked full time, later part time then in a pro bono capacity as I raised my children. But the law wasn’t the career of my heart. I always relaxed reading romance.

I had a come to Jesus moment when I was diagnosed with cancer at a relatively young age. It’s true what they say about life threatening illness. No one wonders about unimportant things when faced with the possibility of a premature passing. I was simply happy I had as much time with my family as I had. I was lucky. I recovered. But in those same years I lost four women very dear to me to various illnesses in quick succession. Four. Those losses hit me hard. That second oh sh*t moment screamed at me. Life is too precious a gift, and too short to squander on could haves and should haves.

So, I pursued what I always knew I was meant to do. I set a goal to become a romance author. I weathered a few remarks (and still do) at the concept of a lawyer choosing to write of all things— romance, but I’m not alone— former lawyers are legion in Romancelandia. These days I write. I read. I attend conferences. I promote my work. And I write some more.

And I couldn’t be happier.

You can guess my advice.

Don’t wait. If you can afford to switch gears and that’s a big if with a second act, do it. Even if it’s a side hustle as you segue into full time with the new venture. Believe in yourself. If you don’t believe in yourself, no one else will. Go after the dream. I wrote romance for years before I finally started to submit my work. I’m not the type to have regrets but if I were, my regret would be that I should have followed my heart’s desire sooner.

I thrive on learning every aspect of my second career as a writer. I’m getting better every day and that pursuit of excellence keeps me curious and interested in the writing world and the world in general. I’m challenging myself to push my inner boundaries of genre and style.

My motto? Never, never, never give up. If you’re reading this and I can tell you anything about your second act, it is this. Act on it. Do it now. Start small. Set goals. You will achieve them. Then set new goals. Keep learning, work hard and enjoy every small moment of success in your new venture. You may fail but you will learn and achieve success. I promise.

Today I have four romances published and three more books in various stages of completion. My latest release, Their No-Strings Affair is set in my hometown of NYC as are the other two books in the City of Dreams series.

In the Their No-Strings Affair Jake’s ex-military with a second career as a security expert. In my recently released novella Forever in a Moment, Samantha ponders a life altering career change.


















For a chance to win an ecopy of Their No-Strings Affair or Forever in a Moment let me know in the comments if you’ve made a career change or are considering one, what you do/did and what you do now. Or what you want to be doing.

I will choose two random commenters to win one of my recent releases.

Blurb – Their No-Strings Affair

Honey packs everything she owns and heads to NYC to jumpstart her art career. Her cheating boyfriend is history, and she finally acknowledges the truth of her mother’s mantra: Careers are forever and happily ever after isn’t in their DNA.

All she needs is a job and a place to live. What she doesn’t need is a taciturn, sexy, ballbuster but she’s woman enough to know the difference between need and want. Isn’t she?

Jake’s childhood was marred by tragedy and his future hijacked to a promise born of guilt. His failure drove him to a career as a SEAL and a security expert.

But it’s not enough. Now he’ll give up his freedom in reparation for the life he lost. Honey may be the last sweet stop on the road to a joyless future. If it’s what they both want, where’s the harm in a no-strings affair?

Buy links – Their No-Strings Affair

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Nook | iBooks |
Google Play | Kobo

Bio

NYC born Charlotte O’Shay was the middle child of a large, boisterous family. Any time she needed an escape from the noise and drama of family life, she stuck her nose in a book.

Fast forward to law school where reading romance was a treat as satisfying as cookie dough ice cream.

One marriage, four bouncing babies later and Charlotte was still reading. But then she started squeezing in time to write some stories of her own.

Today she writes contemporary romance full time.

Charlotte’s heroines are intelligent and loyal, her alpha heroes fiercely protective.

Her greatest wish is that her readers escape into happily ever after inside the pages of her books.

Where to find Charlotte…

Website/Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | BookBub | Pinterest | Instagram


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Ask a What If Question

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 the following reflection from The Path Made Clear, spiritual teacher Michael Bernard Beckwith advises us to focus on our possibilities and ask more What If questions.

There’s a shift that takes place when you’re talking about the possibilities more than you’re talking about your issues. With your issues, your energy goes into the lower frequencies. Doubt. Worry. Fear. Now you’re in that sediment. You’re in that dynamic.

But if you start talking about possibility, even if you don’t know how to get there, then your energy starts to go up. Ask a what if question. What if all my needs were met? What would I be doing in my life? What if everything is really working together for my good? What if all the bad things that have happened in my life are leading me to activating some great potential in my experience? What if God really is on my side?

You ask a what if question and you start to notice little miracles happening in your life.

Source: The Path Made Clear, p. 76

Revisiting The Four Agreements

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 The Four Agreements, author Don Miguel Ruiz shares a powerful code of conduct that can transform our lives. Translated into 40 languages worldwide, the book has been a New York Times bestseller for over a decade.

Whenever I need a refresher and don’t have time to pick up the book, I refer to the following summary:




Replenishing My Inner Well

In 1992, I picked up a copy of The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. Hoping to inspire and motivate my inner writer, I spent an entire weekend devouring the book and then decided to incorporate morning pages and artist dates into my life.

That enthusiasm fizzled after only one week.

At the time, I was in the thick of my career and personal life. Busy with course preps, curriculum meetings, extra-curricular activities, and family health issues, I found myself unable to even consider adding one more activity to my schedule.

Continue reading on the Soul Mate Authors blog.


Watch Yourself

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 the following is not technically a Zen story, it is said to have been told by the Buddha himself. Its message of self-care is one that will resonate, especially with women.

There was once a pair of acrobats. The teacher was a poor widower and the student was a young girl by the name of Meda. These acrobats performed each day on the streets in order to earn enough to eat.

Their act consisted of the teacher balancing a tall bamboo pole on his head while the little girl climbed slowly to the top. Once to the top, she remained there while the teacher walked along the ground.

Both performers had to maintain complete focus and balance in order to prevent any injury from occurring and to complete the performance. One day, the teacher said to the pupil:

‘Listen Meda, I will watch you and you watch me, so that we can help each other maintain concentration and balance and prevent an accident. Then we’ll surely earn enough to eat.’

But the little girl was wise. She answered, ‘Dear Master, I think it would be better for each of us to watch ourself. To look after oneself means to look after both of us. That way I am sure we will avoid any accidents and earn enough to eat.’


Movie Review: The Grizzlies

Set in Kugluktuk, Nunavut, an isolated town with the highest suicide rate in Canada, this sports drama is based on actual events circa 2004.

High school English teacher Russ Sheppard (Ben Schnetzer) is unprepared for the challenges that await him in the classroom. A naïve, well-intended southerner—referred to as qallunaat by the locals—Russ plans to stay for only one year while he waits for a teaching contract at a private school in Halifax.

After learning (the hard way) that the authoritarian approach doesn’t work with these neglected students, Russ tries to inspire them through sports. At first wary, the students eventually do come around and join the lacrosse team. Slowly—and not without obstacles—Russ succeeds in creating a spirit of camaraderie among the players.

Opposition to this fledgling group can be found almost everywhere in Kugluktuk.

The school principal, Janace (Tantoo Cardinal), tries to discourage Russ from starting this venture. When Russ decides to take the team to Toronto for the high school nationals, Janace advises him not to add to the long list of promises that have been made to the Inuit and never kept.

Several sets of parents and grandparents believe their young charges should be hunting and not spending so much time with the qallunaat.

Alcoholism and abuse exist in many of the homes. From the opening scene where crates of liquor outnumber the passengers in a small plane to a colleague’s advice on surviving life in the North— “I do the same thing everyone else does, I drink” to the depressing night culture…Russ faces many obstacles during that first year.

The specter of suicide can be felt throughout the film. Each time, I was unprepared for the events and ensuing consequences. I can only imagine how difficult it must be to live in a community where everyone has lost a family member or friend to suicide.

While the cast is predominantly male, two young female actresses deliver outstanding performances. I enjoyed watching Miranda (Emerald MacDonald) gain confidence and acquire leadership skills as the team’s manager. Spring (Anna Lambe) experiences the tragic loss of her boyfriend but manages to bounce back and become part of the lacrosse team.

First-time director Miranda de Pencier has crafted a powerful film that humanizes the grim statistics about youth suicide in Canada’s North.

A must-see film!


This Other Way

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 the following reflection from The Path Made Clear, Cheryl Strayed shares the following perspective on rewriting our stories:

How long do we hold on to this old idea? I was going to do this job or I was going to go to this school or I was going to be married to this person. And it doesn’t serve us anymore.

I once wrote a letter to my younger self and told the younger me, It’s okay to rewrite my story from time to time. And not only okay, but necessary. Sometimes you have to see things through, even though they don’t cause you joy. But sometimes you need to say, You know what? I’m not going to surrender my joy. I’m not going to be this thing anymore. That story is no longer true. I’m going to be this other thing. This other way.

Source: The Path Made Clear, p. 128