Wisdom from Rumi

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.

Words matter…Advice to keep in mind before speaking your mind.

Happy National All or Nothing Day!

Celebrate this day by throwing caution to the wind and going for broke.

Think of one goal you would like to accomplish but feel fearful or hesitant to do so. It could be writing a novel, running a marathon, eschewing sugar, improving your technology skills, learning a new craft, decluttering your home…

Decide to make the necessary changes and then take that first small step.

Here are ten quotations to inspire you:

Even the greatest was once a beginner. Don’t be afraid to take that first step. Mohammed Ali

The most effective way to do it, is to do it. Amelia Earhart

How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world. Anne Frank

Well done is better than well said. Benjamin Franklin

Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

I didn’t get there by wishing for it or hoping for it, but by working for it.
Estée Lauder

Small deeds done are better than great deeds planned. Peter Marshall

The secret of getting ahead is getting started. Mark Twain

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. Lao Tzu

You don’t have to be great to start, but you do have to start to be great. Zig Ziglar

Excerpt Tour – Nuclear Power Nuclear Game

I’m happy to welcome author Helen Huong. Today, Helen shares her debut novel, Nuclear Power Nuclear Game.

Blurb

The year is 1950. Zoe and John, two young nuclear scientists from Berkeley, seem to have the perfect life, with promising careers and marriage plans. But their innocence is soon shattered when the Chinese Communist Party seizes power. Choosing to postpone the wedding and return back to her home country, Zoe finds herself locked in a political cage and separated from John indefinitely.

Caught in a complex web of revolutionary propaganda and forced to participate in dangerous research, Zoe must confront the looming question of where her true loyalties lie: with her country or with John back in America?

Set during China’s march towards nuclear power amidst the political turmoil of the Cold War, Nuclear Power Nuclear Game spans multiple decades and countries across the globe to tell the story of two nuclear scientists’ fight for world peace and a love torn apart by conflicting ideologies.

Excerpt

The one-room apartment was simple, small for three people but comfortable enough to accommodate daily life. The communal kitchen, shared with five other neighbors, served as a community center where they could work together and socialize. Unlike Little Red, Lanying found the local dialect incomprehensible, but with some guessing, hand gestures, and lots of laughter, she was able to connect with their neighbors. At last Zoe felt she could fulfill her duty as both mother and daughter and pay back everything her parents had given her. She had her own home, a real home, a place where she could laugh and talk freely without fear or intimidation.

“Mama, you look beautiful,” Little Red said through a mouthful of porridge.

“Thank you.” Zoe smiled, smoothing the black-and-white checked skirt. One of the things she loved about her new life was that no one frowned over her choice of clothes. No longer constrained by Chairman Mao and his wife’s dress code, she felt free to indulge her feminine side.

“Can you get home a little early today? I have some questions I need to ask you for one of my assignments.”

“Can it wait until the weekend? Today I’m accompanying the Minister of Energy on an inspection tour, so I’m afraid I’ll be home quite late.” Zoe smiled, amazed at how quickly Little Red had adapted to their new life. At just ten years old, Little Red had become fluent in the local dialect in less than six months and made many friends at school. She was even elected vice-class president. Zoe had never imagined her daughter would be so confident and outgoing.

“OK.” Little Red smiled, proud of her mother’s scientific knowledge and important position at the Institute.

Zoe checked on Lanying, who was still dozing in bed, and then closed the door quietly as she left. After the dim room and crowded kitchen, the brilliant autumn sun in the front courtyard momentarily blinded her. She closed her eyes until her vision adjusted to the light, and then she found her bike propped against the concrete wall. Usually only one gate panel was open, but today both stood wide, creaking as they swung in the morning breeze. She bolted one side, admiring the Western-style façade of her building that reminded her of Berkeley. Lingering, her fingers curled around the bars of the gate as she lost herself in a moment of nostalgia: John’s apartment had the same look, the same filigrees and latticework. John. He would be fifty years old now, a professor if he’d stayed at Berkeley, or perhaps a prominent researcher for some prestigious organization. Maybe he had three or four grown-up children by now; he always said he wanted a big family. Does he still think of me? Or even remember me? she mused. With a short laugh, she dismissed the pointless fantasy. Why would a man like John—a man with a happy family, a beautiful wife, a successful career— think about a stubborn, selfish woman who jilted him almost twenty-five years ago? She had made her choice, and this was her life now. With a deep breath, she repeated the words she’d said so often before: That’s over, move on. Climbing on her bike, she pedaled toward Institute 1970.

Purchase Links

Amazon US | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Kindle | Indigo | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Kobo | Smashwords | Apple

Author Bio and Links

Born and raised in Shanghai, Helen Huang now resides in Melbourne, Australia. Nuclear Power Nuclear Game is her first novel, inspired by her own experience living under the Communist regime and working at a nuclear institute in China.

To be a novelist was Helen’s childhood dream. She started writing Nuclear Power Nuclear Game when she was a housewife looking after her four daughters. It took her sixteen years to write, as she raised her children and grew her house design and construction business. Helen hopes to finish a sequel to Nuclear Power Nuclear Game next year.

Website | Goodreads

Giveaway

Helen Huang will be awarding a $15 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour. Find out more here.

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

Replace Your Fantasies

Replace Your Fantasies

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. This recent message stresses the importance of releasing our fantasies:

The older we grow, and the more real-world tragedies and challenges we witness, the more we realize how incredibly blessed we are, and how frequently the fantasies in our heads hold us back from these present blessings. In fact, you’ve likely fantasized your way into headaches and heartaches dozens of times in the past year alone. We all do this to a greater or lesser extent…

We stress ourselves out, because of fantasies.

We procrastinate to the point of failure, because of fantasies.

We get angry with others, with ourselves, and with the world at large, because of fantasies.

We miss out on many of life’s most beautiful and peaceful moments, because of fantasies.

So today, I challenge you to move through this day and practice seeing the real life right in front of you as it truly is…

Do what you have to do without fantasizing and fearing the worst, lamenting about what might happen, or obsessing over how unfair everything is.

See others and accept them without hasty judgments. Choose not to allow their behavior to dominate your thoughts and emotions. Just be present and accepting. Then decide if you want to spend extra time with them (or extra time thinking about them). If not, part ways with dignity.

Replace your fantasies with full presence…

And invest your best into what you’ve got right in front of you.

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

Book Blast: Gracie & Zeus Live the Dream

I’m happy to welcome author Elizabeth Roderick. Today, Elizabeth shares her new release, Gracie & Zeus Live the Dream.

Blurb

Grace Morgan has been on the music scene long enough to know the life of sex, drugs & rock & roll is just a dream. But after a messy divorce, Grace wants to give her dream of being a music journalist one last shot.

She moves to LA with her 21-year-old foster son, Zeus. They live in a motel on cup noodles and hope, until Grace finally gets a break: a story about Inez Carter, hot-mess frontwoman of the popular band Karma Korn.

The story delivers more sex, drugs and rock & roll than Grace bargained for. Karma Korn’s drummer, Nelson, has Grace rethinking her post-divorce vow of celibacy. And after they’re invited to an elite Hollywood rave, where they mistakenly drink the electric Kool-Aid, Zeus is scouted to be the lead guitarist for another star band.

However, the story soon goes sideways, and things aren’t adding up. Someone is spreading rumors about Grace, trying to sabotage her career and reputation. Then someone tries to kill her. Grace is left frantically trying to connect the dots in the dwindling hope she’ll be able to salvage the story, her relationship with Nelson, and her life.

Excerpt

A beefy guy in mirrored aviators stood sentry outside the door, three people lined up in front of him.

“I write for a very popular music blog, The Night of the Living Dude,” the one in front pleaded. “We get almost a thousand hits a day. It would be great publicity for the band.”

“That’s what Karma Korn needs, is more publicity,” the security guy drawled. He raised his chin slightly, and Grace could feel him watching her from behind his sunglasses. “And who are you?” he asked. “You write for Suzie’s Super Opinions on Music blog or something?”

The others turned to watch her suspiciously. Grace swallowed, giving the goon her best smile. “I’m Grace Morgan. Lawrence Shaupin from High Note sent me to do an article about Karma Korn’s new album.”

The goon’s eyebrows inched slightly higher as the three other hopefuls shuffled their feet. Flies buzzed around the sticky spot in Grace’s hair. “High Note,” the goon said. He gazed off toward the potted palms flanking the entry, clicking his tongue against the roof of his mouth. “There’s already a chick in there says she’s doing an article for High Note. Nice chick. Looks like that actress in all the action movies, except lankier, more freckles.”

Grace’s heart sank. Marla Pocchino. “I know her, she’s another freelancer.”

The security guy watched Grace with crossed arms. Sweat soaked into the cheap fabric of her pantsuit as she waved the flies from her hair. Finally, the guy nodded. “Go ahead.”

Author Bio and Links

Elizabeth Roderick is the author of Gracie & Zeus Live the Dream a romantic comedy meets cozy mystery released by Cinnabar Moth Publishing LLC May 11, 2021 as well as many short stories in various anthologies.

She and her daughter help run a small, diversified farm in Eastern Washington. She is a musician and songwriter, and has played in many bands—mostly guitar, bass and keyboards.

Elizabeth’s stories are about love, death, gang warfare, and madness, with characters of the type that society generally shuns: addicts, convicts, and the neurodivergent. She is a neurodivergent person and a disability rights activist.

Elizabeth believes if people get to know those who live on the fringes of society, both in stories and in real life, they’ll find them more likeable than they originally thought.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Amazon Buy Link

Giveaway

Elizabeth Roderick will be awarding a $25 Amazon/Barnes & Noble gift card to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour. Find out more here

Elizabeth on the rest of her Goddess Fish Tour here.

Blurb Blitz: Lady Deception

I’m happy to welcome award-winning author Bobbi Smith. Today, Bobbi shares her novel, Lady Deception.

Hi Everybody!

Lady Deception was the first book in my “Women Who Were Ahead of Their Times” series. All my books with Lady in the title are in this series. They feature strong heroines who are inspiring and great role models. I hope you enjoy Cody’s story. Best, Bobbi Smith

Blurb

The Lady

Cody Jameson—the name sent chills down the spines of every sidewinder west of the Pecos. A master of disguise, a genius of deceit, the infamous bounty hunter always had the advantage over any prey: No desperado knew Cody’s real identity—or even suspected that the tracker stalking him was a fiery beauty.

The Deception

The first time Cody caught sight of Luke Majors, she was dressed as a lady preacher. But nothing could conceal the way the gunman thrilled her. Still, it wasn’t Luke’s body or soul Cody was after—it was the price on his head. And she was sure to collect the reward, if only she could convince herself a fistful of dollars was worth more than a lifetime of passion.

Excerpt

Luke had time to think as he rode with Cody, and he wasn’t happy about it. Memories of the time he’d spent with her disguised as Sister Mary taunted him. He’d been protecting her, and all the while she’d been trying to take him in for the reward they were offering on him for the bank robbery! He silently laughed at how completely he’d been fooled by her act. Cody had gone to El Trajar to catch him, not to save any souls.

Luke recalled how he’d thought Sister Mary was everything a woman was supposed to be—honest and forthright, gentle and caring. He’d thought she was a complete innocent. He’d been wrong. Cody had used every trick in the book to bring him in. Disguised as Armita, she’d even used her body!

He immediately stopped at that thought. There had been no mistaking her untouched state. Memories of their lovemaking made him wonder anew just what kind of woman Cody Jameson really was. Was she a saint or sinner? A deceitful woman or a clever bounty hunter?

Luke tried to imagine that her response to his lovemaking had been an act, but he knew instinctively that wasn’t true. She’d wanted him as much as he’d wanted her.

But not anymore.

Cody Jameson had caught him. She was taking him in to collect her reward, and then she was going to go on to her next conquest. He’d been a job to her. Nothing more.

His mood was black. The only good thing he had to cling to was his knowledge that all the time he’d spent undercover with the outlaw gang hadn’t been for nothing. He had learned that El Diablo, the leader of the gang, was a woman. When they got back to town, he would contact Jack and let him know.

With Stalking Ghost taking the lead, Cody kept an eye on Luke. When they stopped for the night, she noticed how he seemed to be in pain from his shoulder wound as he dismounted.

“Are you all right?” she asked.

“I’m worth the same to you, dead or alive. So it really doesn’t matter. You’ll get your money.” He turned his back to her.

Cody’s heart ached. She wished she could change the way things had turned out, but she’d given her word to Jack Logan that she would bring him in.

Author Bio and Links

After working as a department manager for Famous-Barr, and briefly as a clerk at a bookstore, Bobbi gave up on career security and began writing. She sold her first book to Zebra in 1982.

Since then, Bobbi has written over 40 books and 6 novellas. To date, there are more than five million copies of her novels in print. She has been awarded the prestigious Romantic Times Storyteller Award and two Career Achievement Awards. Her books have appeared on the New York Times Best Seller List, the USA Today Best Seller List and the Wal-Mart Best Seller List.

The rights to Ms. Smith’s books have been sold to China, France, Germany, India, Israel, Russia and Sweden. Bobbi has also written two faith-based contemporary novels – Haven and Miracles – using the pseudonym, Julie Marshall.

Website | Amazon Buy Link

Giveaway

Bobbi Smith will be awarding a $10 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour. Find out more here.

Follow Bobbi on the rest of her Goddess Tour here.

Celebrating Book Birthdays

I’m happy to welcome Soul Mate author Carole Ann Moleti. Today, Carole shares the three novels in the Unfinished Business series.

Here’s Carole!

It’s hard to believe that the Unfinished Business series turns seven this year! My family has vacationed on Cape Cod for as long as I can remember. One year, as I was pulling dustcovers off furniture and vacuuming up dead flies while opening up a summer cottage, I had the sudden inspiration to write a story about a woman who finds an old trunk in the attic and is transfixed by the clothes she finds inside.

I spent much of that July 4 weekend writing 13,000 words of what would become The Widow’s Walk and thought the short story was done. But my critique partners wanted to know what came before that. After I wrote 23,000 more words (Breakwater Beach), they wanted to know what came after, which was Storm Watch.

Thankfully, Debbie Gilbert of Soulmate Publishing loved the concept and published The Widow’s Walk in 2014, Breakwater Beach in 2016, and finally Storm Watch in 2017. This paranormal, ghost story series follows the parallel lives of the characters.

In 2018, my family bought a cottage just steps from Paine’s Creek Beach in the historic sea captain’s town of Brewster, Massachusetts where much of the action in the novels takes place. I had been celebrating the series with an annual “beach reads” bookstore/library tour on Cape Cod until the pandemic hit, but Debbie has just renewed the contract for The Widow’s Walk so I’ve got a few more years left to continue the celebration.

The Widow’s Walk: Book Two

Was getting out, getting away, enough?

Mike and Liz Keeny are newlyweds, new parents, and the proprietors of the Barrett Inn, an 1875 Victorian on Cape Cod, which just happens to be haunted. By their own ghosts. The Inn had become an annex of Purgatory, putting Mike, Liz, and their infant son in danger. Selling the historic seaside bed and breakfast was the only answer, one that Liz and her own tortured specter refused to consider. Were they doomed to follow the same path that led to disaster in their previous lives?

An excerpt from The Widow’s Walk: Book Two in the Unfinished Business

Silk rustled as she ran her hands over the dress. The lavender scent deepened as Elisabeth swirled around inside, Her mind went numb as the ghost took control. She slipped out of her clothes and stood naked in front of the mirror. She put up her hair, preening for her husband, before she stepped into the middle of the deep green skirts and pulled them up over her waist, slipped her arms into the sleeves, and twisted them behind her back to fasten the buttons. She used the buttonhook to do up the shoes, then peered out into the hallway.

Liz bundled the sweat suit into her arms, along with the soap and paper goods, and hurried to the attic door. It wasn’t until she placed her hand on the banister and started up the steep staircase to the roof that Elisabeth’s needling eased. Like an addict in the throes of withdrawal, just the promise of being up there, her spirit communing with the long lost sea captain, offered relief.

Breakwater Beach: Book One

Would you take a second chance?

Liz Levine is convinced her recently deceased husband is engineering the sequence of events that propels her into a new life. But it’s sea captain Edward Barrett, the husband that died over a century ago, who has returned to complete their unfinished business. Edward’s lingering presence complicates all her plans and jeopardizes a new relationship that reawakens her passion for life and love. What are Captain Barrett’s plans for his wife, and for the man who is the new object of her affections?

Storm Watch: Book Three

One last chance, their only choice.

Mike and Liz thought they’d gotten control of the specters haunting the Barrett Inn. But things get very complicated when they’re the ghosts from your past life. The Category Five Hurricane bearing down on Cape Cod appears to be headed directly for them–or has it been spawned from inside them? Knowing it’s their last chance to end the hauntings, they face an impossible choice. Will they survive the storm?

Author Bio

Carole Ann Moleti lives and works as a nurse-midwife in New York City, thus explaining her fascination with all things paranormal, urban fantasy, and space opera. Her nonfiction focuses on health care, politics, and women’s issues. But her first love is writing science fiction and fantasy because walking through walls is less painful than running into them.

Carole’s Cape Cod paranormal Unfinished Business Series novels have been published by Soulmate. He short stories have been featured in several of the Ten Tales fantasy anthologies, and her darker fiction has appeared in the Hell’s Kitties, Hell’s Heart and Hell’s Mall anthologies.

She won the Oasis Journal 2009 Prize for best nonfiction, and two timely pieces of her memoir have been published in the acclaimed Shifts and Impact anthologies.

Where to Find Carole…

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

Visiting Egypt and Sudan with Caroline Warfield

I’m happy to welcome back award-winning author Caroline Warfield. Today, shares interesting facts about the setting of her new release, The Price of Glory.

Here’s Caroline!

I am an avid traveler, and the places I visit often turn up as settings for my novels. The Price of Glory, my newest work which will launch on July 7, is set in Egypt and Nubia, what is now northern Sudan. I have, alas, visited neither one. This time I had to rely on my imagination. I’m left with a longing to go there. Here is my list of ten things I wish I could see or experience that appear in the novel:

1.The Karnak Temple complex near Luxor, particularly the Great Hypostyle Hall that awed my hero. I also want to see the obelisk of Queen Hatshepsut. My hero reads the inscription to the heroine. By moonlight. That would be perfect, but I’ll settle for daytime.

2. Dahabiyas, traditional Egyptian sailing boats, with their graceful triangular sails, on the Nile. They come in many sizes, and I fell in love with paintings and photos. I would love to travel from Cairo to Khartoum on one, but I think maybe that is no longer possible.

3. The ruined pyramids at Meroë at sunrise, possibly from a tourist camp.

4. The place where the Blue Nile meets the White.

5. The rock-cut temples of Abu Simbel, even though they have been relocated due to the building of the Aswan Dam. They are now part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site called the Nubian Monuments along with the Temple of Isis at Philae. My hero laments the damage being done by Western pillaging. It is good do know this treasure was saved.

6. Cairo’s souk, Khan el-Khalili. It is no doubt a tourist trap today, but then, it probably was bit of one in 1839 when my hero scoured the back lanes looking for genuine artifacts, particularly anything from Meroë.

7. The camel market at Khartoum. The book includes a flight across the desert with a camel caravan. I’m not so sure I want to try that.

8. A fishing village along the Red Sea.

9. The historic Islamic quarter of Cairo. It is always hard to picture how a place looked 180 years ago, but I would give it a try.

10. Shepheard’s Hotel des Anglais in Cairo. Alas it is gone. It burned down during anti-British riots in 1952 after 120 years of catering to Western adventurers.

I might find time for the great pyramids and the sphinx, but I suspect a view from a distance would suit me fine. I have a weakness for museums, however, so I am certain that, if I’m ever so fortunate as to make this trip, I would spend hours in the as yet unopened Grand Egyptian Museum (also called the Giza Museum). Delayed by Covid and other challenges it will be the largest archaeological museum in the world when open. I won’t miss the National Museum of Sudan either. It houses a comprehensive Nubian archaeological collection, including artifacts from Meroë.

About the Book

The Price of Glory tells the story of one man’s pursuit of knowledge that will bring him fame and respect, only to find it upended by a woman determined to serve the people of Egypt. Neither has any idea where this journey will take them when they embark down the Nile toward Nubia and its mysteries, ancient and modern.

Richard Mallet comes to Egypt with dreams of academic glory. He will be the one to unravel the secrets of the ancient Kushite language. Armed with license to dig, he sets out for Meroë, where the Blue Nile meets the White. He has no room in his life for dalliance or entanglements, and he certainly doesn’t expect to face insurrection and unrest.

Analiese Cloutier seeks no glory—only the eradication of disease among the Egyptian women and children of Khartoum. She has no interest whatsoever in romantic nonsense and will not allow notions about a lady’s proper role to interfere with her work. She doesn’t expect to have that work manipulated for political purposes.

Neither expects to be enchanted by the amorous power of moonlight in the ruins of Karnak, or to be forced to marry before they can escape revolution. Will their flight north take them safely to Cairo? If it does, can they build something real out of their shattered dreams?

***Available on Kindle Unlimited or for purchase here***

About the Author

Award winning author Caroline Warfield has been many things: traveler, librarian, poet, raiser of children, bird watcher, Internet and Web services manager, conference speaker, indexer, tech writer, genealogist—even a nun. She reckons she is on at least her third act, happily working in an office surrounded by windows where she lets her characters lead her to adventures in England and the far-flung corners of the British Empire. She nudges them to explore the riskiest territory of all, the human heart.

Where to find Caroline…

Website | Facebook | Newsletter | Goodreads | BookBub

Buzzwords and Dating Trends of 2021

I was surprised and a bit disappointed to discover that I was unfamiliar with the latest dating lexicon.

In a recent interview on Cityline, celebrity matchmaker Carmelia Ray shared the following buzzwords and dating trends of 2021:

Sneating

Going on a dinner date with someone purely for the free food. (a.k.a. sneak eating)

Continue reading on the Soul Mate Authors blog