Today, the Dalai Lama celebrates his 85th birthday. Calm and centered, the spiritual leader of Tibet continues to inspire us with the Buddhist message of kindness, compassion, and mindfulness. Here’s an excerpt from a recent BBC interview with correspondent Justin Rowlatt:
Welcome to my Second Acts Series!
Today, we have Wild Rose Press author Colleen Donnelly sharing a unique perspective on reinvention and her new release, Letters and Lies.
Thank you for allowing me to stand back with your readers and smile at the colorful course I took to my second, third, and fourth acts in life. I was “one of those kids” I hope someone else can relate to.
Act I – Innocence and Acceptance
Naked we came into the world—then someone added a diaper. Then nourishment, smiles, yawns, pensive looks, raised brows, hugs, and shaking heads. We were kids. Ready to live life fiercely and love unconditionally, empowered by parents or someone we saw as God who was equipped to fulfill our every need. At least I believed that as I sallied forth into what I expected to be a perfect world where all toys were mine, friends would delight me, and no tear would ever be shed. That euphoric journey might be true for many, but I found my nicely charted path diverted by unexpected surprises such as the little brother no one warned me was coming, the amount of sharing that would involve, and new rules which tainted my perception of unconditional love as I pondered it during time out in a chair or a corner. I did not approach Act II gracefully. I came at it determined to make up for Act I.
Act II – Hormones and the Need for Acceptance
Puberty, the doorway between Act I and Act II, opened to a whole world of options beyond our parents to affirm us and meet our needs. It looked glorious from the childhood side and lured me toward what turned into a twisted trek to glowing acceptance mottled with acne, larger thighs, and fierce competition. I floundered forward into brutal, teenage battles to be noticed, yet not to be, while my parents sagely countered my foibles with clever Act II countermeasures to replace Act I’s corners and chairs. Undaunted, I joined the ranks of those who missed a euphoric end to Act II. Hiding red-faced flops of looking for love in all the wrong places, my childhood determination morphed to desperation as I faced to the door to Act III.
Act III – Adulthood and Self-Acceptance
Opportunity sprouted legs in Act III, changed to responsibility, and taught baby adults how to walk. Acceptance became one with success and performance, and schools of sharks began to pool in groups of academics, career, marriage, and children. We found ourselves clawing backward for the tools we recalled from our parents and drew from them to design our own. School became the school of hard knocks, and euphoria began to resemble a never-ending black moment in a romance novel. Act III, in all its agony and trials, did what it was supposed to—give birth to the person we were meant to be in Act I. I spotted a glow the end of Act III that wasn’t Act IV. It was me; the polished shine that remained after I and the world had a hard go at me.
Act IV – The Golden Years of Accepting Others
For three Acts I learned to share, lived in a body never photographed for a cover, suffered bitterly jealous, was betrayed, bought the wrong gift for important someone’s, pretended knowledge I had to later scramble to learn, until I met and liked the culmination I was born to be. I carry the full script now. And when I meet children, teens, and young adults, I skip to the back, to Act IV which is Act I with something extra at the end.
Spotlight for Letters and Lies
How did I write such a tale of a young woman determined to get what she believed was hers at any cost? If you skipped my introduction, you’ll find the answer there. Starting today, you can follow the escapades of jilted spinster Louise Archer for 99 cents as she heads west to find and marry her man.
Louise Archer boards a westbound train in St. Louis to find the Kansas homesteader who wooed and proposed to her by correspondence, then jilted her by telegram – Don’t come, I can’t marry you. Giving a false name to hide her humiliation, her lie backfires when a marshal interferes and offers her his seat.
Marshal Everett McCloud intends to verify the woman coming to marry his homesteading friend is suitable. At the St. Louis train station, his plan detours when he offers his seat to a captivating woman whose name thankfully isn’t Louise Archer.
Everett’s plans thwart hers, until he begins to resemble the man she came west to find, and she the woman meant to marry his friend.
“He wrote and changed your plans? Why didn’t you tell me? You know I love hearing his letters.”
Everyone loved hearing his letters. Or at least they’d pretended to. I glanced at my friends, especially the one who’d first suggested I correspond with her husband’s homesteading friend in Kansas who was ready to look for a wife. She dabbed at her eyes with a handkerchief while she flicked the fingers of her other hand in a weak wave. I dredged my soul in search of a smile. The man she’d introduced me to truly had penned everything I’d ever wanted in a husband, months of letters which convinced Mama Jim was my open door. Letters I’d foolishly carted from family to friend to blather every word like a desperate spinster. Drat.
“He didn’t send his change of plans in a letter, Mama. He sent them in a telegram.” Don’t come, I can’t marry you. The only words I never shared.
“Well I imagine your Jim has a surprise for you and didn’t have time to send a letter before you left for Crooked Creek. How thoughtful to wire you instead.”
Thoughtful…I felt poisoned and Mama would too if she ever found out Jim had shut my open door. Which she wouldn’t, since as soon as I got out there and found him, I’d wedge it back open again.
Bio and Social Media Links
Born and raised in the Midwest, Colleen studied and worked in science, using that career to travel and explore other parts of the country. An avid fan of literature, both reading and writing, she loves tales involving moral dilemmas and the choices people come up against. A lover of the outdoors as well as a comfy living room, Colleen is always searching inside and out for the next good story.
Other Books by Colleen L Donnelly
I’m happy to welcome back Wild Rose Press author Charlotte O’Shay. Today, Charlotte shares ten life lessons and her upcoming release, Always, Almond Fudge.
It’s such a pleasure to visit your blog again.
I’m certainly old enough to know better. Finally I do—kind of. In spite of my patient parents, it took me forever to learn these lessons. Anyway, here goes.
1. Every day is a gift. Unwrap it. We make plans and we have schedules, calendars and appointments and of course, some of these are commitments we cannot neglect. But take a moment to appreciate the energy and promise of the new day. Be open to it unfolding in a way you might not have anticipated or planned.
2. Say yes. Of course you’re scared, but there is no growth without fear. Have courage. Be open to learning, doing something new. This gets harder as you get older, but more necessary.
3. Say no. Your time is precious. Don’t let people waste it. You don’t need to say yes to every invitation, join every committee or raise your hand to do something because you think you should. Take on what you truly can and want to do, and do it with joy.
4. Surround yourself with the people who make you happy. There are toxic people out there. As you get older you can see them coming from a mile away. Life is too short to engage with vitriolic people whether on line or in person. Corollary: Tell the people you love, that you love and appreciate them.
5. Surround yourself with the things that make you happy. I’m not talking about expensive objects. This is for all the yard sale lovers out there. I’m talking about a pine cone found while walking, sea glass from the beach, a pretty plate from a tag sale or a wonderful piece of music. I’m also not talking about hoarding. If you find something new, give away something you no longer need. If a color soothes you, paint it on a wall.
6. Trust your gut. We’ve all been there. A tough, even dangerous situation. Or you’ve met a new, potentially important person. Maybe it’s a big decision you must make about a job. There’s that niggling feeling like an itch you can’t get to in the middle of your back. Don’t ignore it. You may not know why you feel the way you do, but learn to scratch the itch by trusting your gut.
7. Struggling with a big decision, dilemma? (see 6. above) Walk. Running is okay and so is biking. But there is nothing quite like walking to ruminate. Extra points if you can walk on a beach.
8. Don’t complain, make a change. I vent. You vent. And we all have the friend who vents—constantly. But when does it cease being a vent and more just a state of being? After you hash out your issue with a few trusted people, take action. Don’t complain about something endlessly. Can you change the situation? Do you need legal, medical, educational, psychiatric help? Reach out for it. Educate yourself. Take action.
9. Listen (patiently, not waiting to barrel in with your side of the issue). Sometimes spoken words aren’t necessary. Write a thoughtful, appreciative letter. Hug it out.
10. Sleep on it. This works for problems in writing and all manner of life issues. Let your subconscious mind lead you to a solution. Meditation helps too.
On a lengthy car ride to their annual seaside vacation, a mother recounts the true story of a sweet family tradition.
It’s the summer of 1941 in the seaside town of Langford, Rhode Island, and seventeen-year-old Meredith Franklin works as a server at Seymore’s Ice Cream Shoppe.
When aspiring baseball player Anthony Fanelli strolls into the ice cream shop, his teasing banter leads to romantic sparks and dreams of forever love.
Their whirlwind courtship comes to an abrupt halt on December 7, 1941, when America enters World War Two, forcing the couple to put their future on hold.
Decades later, a treasure trove of letters details the wartime romance of Merry and Anthony and the sacrifices of a generation.
Author Charlotte O’Shay was born in New York City into a big family and then married into another big family.
Negotiating skills honed at the dinner table led her to a career in the law.
But after four beautiful children joined the crowded family tree, Charlotte traded her legal career to write about happily ever afters in the City of Dreams.
Charlotte loves to challenge her heroines and heroes with a crisis and watch them figure out who they are while they fall in love.
Where to find Charlotte…
This past year, I have read several books with unsatisfying endings. In one case, I wondered if the novel had been worth my time and attention. The author had started with a compelling opening, the characters were well-developed, and each chapter ended on a suspenseful note.
Where did she go wrong?
Continue reading on the Soul Mate Authors blog.
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, I enjoy rereading these inspirational quotes from Cheryl Strayed.
I’m happy to welcome–Caren Crane, Jeanne Adams, Nancy Northcott–the authors of Who’s Your Daddy.
10 Cool Facts About DNA (from Caren Crane)
Thanks for having us today, Joanne! The anthology I wrote with Nancy Northcott and Jeanne Adams, Who’s Your Daddy: A DNA Anthology, is three stories based around people finding out unknowns from having their DNA tested. This has been a hot topic the past few years, because so many of us are having our DNA tested from the comfort of our homes. When I chose to do mine, I used 23andme.com, because they give you all the raw data (unlike ancestry.com) and also provide you with ongoing information about the medical data gleaned from your DNA. Those things were important to me, though others may not be as invested in those aspects.
Since this anthology and our stories are all about DNA, I thought I would do a list of 10 cool things to know about DNA. I am no expert, so I gleaned these from several great articles: 10 Interesting DNA Facts by Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D., on thoughtco.com, 10 Quick and Interesting DNA Facts, by Steve Minchin, on explorebiotech.com, and 10 Fun Facts About DNA on the DNA Diagnostic Center blog at dnacenter.com. I have gleaned only the most fun of DNA facts from these sources, never fear!
1. 8% of human DNA is made up of ancient viruses that used to make us ill.
2. If you could type 60 wpm, 8 hours a day, it would take about 50 years to type out the human genome.
3. If we unraveled the DNA in a human, it would stretch out for 10 billion miles. That’s more than the distance to Pluto and back!
4. Apparently, DNA has a half-life of 521 years. In simple terms, this means the oldest organism that could be cloned could not be more than 2 million years old. So, we could never clone a dinosaur. (Sorry to crush those Jurassic Park dreams!)
5. DNA is fragile. About 1,000 times a day, things happen to damage it and cause errors. However, our bodies have very clever systems in place to act as repair mechanisms (though not all errors are reparable).
6. Humans share 99.9% of their DNA. It’s the 0.1% that makes us unique!
7. Genes only make up 3% of your DNA. Until recently, the other 97% was thought to be “junk”. Scientists have discovered, though, that the non-coding DNA contains switches that turn genes on or off and control other compounds.
8. We can sequence the DNA of a fetus with only blood from the mother and spit from the father. Therefore, they can now detect genetic diseases in offspring with no invasive procedures.
9. DNA has been traced back over 300,000 years. The DNA of a man from South Carolina was found to have an ancient Y chromosome that had been passed down intact for 338,000 years. The chromosome carried a mutation found in people of the Mbo tribe in Cameroon. That means an ancestor of the Mbo interbred with an archaic African human.
10. Friedrich Miescher discovered DNA in 1869, although scientists did not understand it was the genetic material in cells until 1943. Prior to that time, it was thought that proteins stored genetic information.
As stated, I’m no expert on DNA, but I know cool stuff when I read it. DNA is very cool!
Presenting three tales of secrets revealed and histories uncovered by DNA testing.
Brown-Eyed Boy by Caren Crane
A carpenter discovers his father isn’t actually his father. Coming to terms with the truth reaffirms his place in his family, but it also leads him to love with an old friend’s sister and helps him find a path for his life.
Lost in Time by Jeanne Adams
A lawyer learns his grandmother had a secret marriage before his father was born. With the help of a talented genealogist, he tracks down his ancestry. Will he find the truth about his grandmother’s secret before whoever’s trying to kill him succeeds?
Worth Waiting For by Nancy Northcott
A burned-out spy goes home for a holiday and re-encounters the woman he never dated but never forgot. As he and she grow closer, he learns her niece, his ex-girlfriend’s child, bears an uncanny resemblance to him. When the truth comes out, it will alter three lives.
Excerpt (From Brown-Eyed Boy by Caren Crane)
Eric Burns had simple tastes. He loved cold beer, working with his hands, and hanging with his big, rowdy family. He didn’t have much use for trendy things.
So when his brother Tim gave everybody in the family DNA test kits for Christmas last year, Eric wasn’t thrilled.
But he set up a profile on the testing website. He spit in the test tube and mailed it off. When he got the email saying his results were ready, he clicked the link and logged into his account. It showed he shared half his DNA with his mother, Bebe, of course. Among his siblings he saw most of them shared about half their DNA with each other.
Then he saw he only shared about 25 percent with his sibs. That he shared so much less with all of them than they did with each other made no sense to him.
Then he saw two other people in his list of DNA relatives who shared about the same amount of DNA with him as his siblings did. Two people with the same names as kids from their neighborhood. He felt all the blood drain out of his head and a roaring sounded in his ears as he realized the only thing that could mean.
The mother he adored, the one who had given birth to him and his five siblings, who had mourned his daddy so much that she basically couldn’t function for most of his childhood, had cheated on his father.
Author Bios and Links
Jeanne Adams writes award-winning romantic suspense, fantasy/paranormal, Urban Fantasy and space adventure that’s been compared to Jack McDevitt and Robert Heinlein. She also knows all about getting rid of the bodies. Both traditionally and indie published, Jeanne has been featured in Cosmopolitan Magazine. She teaches highly sought after classes on Body Disposal for Writers and Plotting for Pantzers, as well as How to Write a Fight Scene with her pal Nancy Northcott.
Caren Crane began writing warm, witty contemporary romance and women’s fiction to save herself from the drudgery of life in the office. An electrical engineer by training, she longed to create worlds where things were any color except cube-wall gray. She still works in a cubicle, but gets to hang out with witty, fabulous people whenever she’s writing, which greatly encourages butt-in-chair time.
Caren lives in North Carolina with her wonderful husband and semi-feral rescue cat. She has three fiercely intelligent, gorgeous grown children, having neatly side-stepped her mother’s threat that she would have children Just Like Her. You can find info and excerpts at her website.
Nancy Northcott’s childhood ambition was to grow up and become Wonder Woman. Around fourth grade, she realized it was too late to acquire Amazon genes, but she still loved comic books, history, and genre fiction. A sucker for fast action and wrenching emotion, Nancy combines the romance and high stakes (and sometimes the magic) she loves in the books she writes.
She’s the author of the Light Mage Wars/Protectors paranormal romances, the Lethal Webs and Arachnid Files romantic suspense series, and the historical fantasy trilogy The Boar King’s Honor. With author Jeanne Adams, she co-writes the Outcast Station space opera series.
The authors will be awarding one copy each of Kick Start by Caren Crane, Dead Run by Jeanne Adams, and Danger’s Edge by Nancy Northcott to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour. Find out more here.
Follow the authors on the rest of their Goddess Fish tour here.
Most of the books I have read over the past month can be classified as escapist fiction. Delightful, sometimes gripping, and at times preposterous, the following three novels will keep you reading for hours on end.
Here are my reviews:
Easily read in one sitting, this delightful novella is the perfect summer read. A seasoned storyteller, Ms. Jaeger excels in descriptive detail. I could easily imagine myself in the picturesque town on the New Hampshire Seacoast, partaking of the delicious food, in particular the ice cream.
The well-developed characters, crisp dialogue, and slow-burning romance between Tandy and Deacon kept me quickly turning the pages until the end.
A feel-good book!
Ms. McCreight skillfully drew me into the lives of the characters that populate this domestic drama/murder mystery. Using multiple points of view, along with grand jury testimony, memos, and emails, she kept me on the edge of my seat from the first page to the last.
Contrary to what the title suggests, all the marriages in this book are dreadful. The residents of Park Slope (an upscale Brooklyn suburb) appear to have charmed lives, but they’re all struggling with their own demons: adultery, stalking, malicious hacking, substance abuse, and financial ruin. The unraveling of those well-orchestrated lives leads to murder and a final reckoning.
An unputdownable book!
Intrigued by the idea of a hard-drinking “retired” hitwoman agreeing to help a classy female detective catch a killer, I couldn’t read fast enough to find out what awaited them in this gripping page-turner. I was particularly impressed by the first-person POV, quirky characters, dark humor, plot twists, and an unexpected ending.
It’s official—I’m now a fan of The Candace Starr Series and hope that Ms. O’Cinneide will deliver the next installment ASAP.