Honoring Dr. Martin Luther King

martinlutherking

Today is Martin Luther King Day, an American federal holiday that marks the birthday of an inspirational clergyman, activist, and leader who is best known for his role in the advancement of civil rights in the United States.

My favorite quotations from Dr. Martin Luther King…

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.

Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.

We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.

Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, “What are you doing for others?”

We must build dikes of courage to hold back the flood of fear.

Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into friend.

We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.

We may have all come on different ships, but we’re in the same boat now.

The time is always right to do what is right.


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Merging My Passions

Welcome to my Second Acts Series!

Today, we have Mrs. N sharing her inspiring journey from shy booknerd to entrepreneur and her latest release, N. N. Light’s Book of Daily Inspiration.

Here’s Mrs. N!

My first act is painted with brushstrokes of shyness and trying to fit in. My mother tells me I was an introvert, even when I was in the womb. I didn’t want to leave, and the doctors had to “coax” me out. Being an only child, I wasn’t forced to socialize and get along with siblings which only heightened my shyness when around other kids. I tried to fit in at school but was soon labeled the shy kid with her nose always in a book. I wanted to change, to be more like my best friends but hadn’t a clue on how to do it. By the time I graduated high school, I was ready to reinvent myself.

“When I left for college, I told myself that this was a chance for reinvention. No one on the other side of the country knew that I was an introvert, so maybe if I tried not acting like an introvert, I wouldn’t be one.” — Andrea Seigel

This quote sums up my feelings when I left for college. No one knew who I was at university and I stripped away my shy persona and became the bubbly person I knew was buried deep inside. People responded to my outgoing nature and I loved the new me.

Every once in awhile, though, the shy booknerd ached to come out and play. I stuffed her down for several years, pretending she didn’t exist. I was the new me and didn’t have room for her. As time went by, though, I got tired of the whole party-girl image and wished the emptiness in my chest would disappear.

“Why couldn’t I be both?” whispered booknerd girl.

My second act opens with a successful career in the book industry and newly engaged. I left my family, career and friends emigrating to Canada to get married. I had never been happier and had fully embraced booknerd girl into my persona. I was shy one minute and outgoing the next while inhaling books as fast as I could read them. I married a chef who cooked incredible food and I became his official taster. Sure, it was an adjustment being newlyweds and living in a new country, not to mention not having to work, but I did it. I focused on what I wanted to do with my life without the financial worries, thanks to MR N (my husband). Dreams I thought long dead bubbled to the surface and I wondered… could I do it?

With the support of my loving husband, I wrote and published my first book. My dreams suddenly appeared doable, not fantasies. I became a published author and N. N. Light was born. As I navigated the other side of the book industry, I realized my years of working for a big box bookstore were for naught. I could merge my two passions: writing and promoting books into one business. With the help of MR N (now retired chef and working his passion: numismatics), we started a home business: N. N. Light Author Promotions.

In all my years, I never thought I’d be an entrepreneur. I didn’t have the business skills to be successful, or so I thought. I’m what many call a creative artist. Instead of trying (and failing) to be business savvy, I partnered with MR N. He worked the business side of things and I managed the writing/marketing side. We started small and have grown to a very successful family-run PR firm, catering to authors.

I can’t wait to see what the next act brings!

My advice for anyone looking for a change is to go for it. Don’t be afraid to try something new and/or change directions. Reinvention is nothing more than flying higher and higher into the stratosphere and making your dreams come true. You’re never too old or too young to live the life you’ve always dreamt of. You must take that first step, though. Opportunity doesn’t knock on closed doors.

Some Inspiring Quotes

Out of clutter, find simplicity. From discord, find harmony. In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity. – Albert Einstein

There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it. – Edith Wharton

Want to live a fulfilled life? Make a gratitude list. – N. N. Light

Need more motivation? Check out our latest release…

Blurb

“Spread the Light and inspire others to do the same.” — N. N. Light

In 2013, we wrote a mission statement and started the Princess of the Light (POTL) blog. We wanted to test a theory. Could one person (or in our case, one couple) use uplifting words to create change?

The answer is a resounding yes! People from all over the world responded to our short inspirational thoughts of the day, and our following grew. What started out as a few people promoting kindness and goodwill turned into a movement. In every city, there are Light-Bearers making a difference and we want you to join us.

Everyone needs inspiration. It doesn’t matter what spiritual belief you hold dear, you have the Light inside you. Kindness, compassion, empathy, encouragement are all attributes of the Light. In this book, you’ll find a ninety second inspirational thought for each day of the year. You’ll be inspiring people to spread the Light daily with our collection of inspirational thoughts. From giving of yourself to simply smiling, these are easy concepts for anyone to apply!

Buy Links

Available for FREE on Kindle Unlimited until February!

Amazon US | Amazon CA | Amazon UK | Goodreads

Bio

N.N. Light is the award-winning husband-wife writing team, commonly known as Mr. N and Mrs. N.

Mrs. N. has been creating stories ever since she was little. Her grandfather remembers when she was two years old, she would stand at the top of the stairs and tell him a story filled with emotion (and in a language foreign to him) with her hands on her hips. Let’s just say she was a born storyteller.

Sign up for their author newsletter to get exclusive content, sales and be entered to win a $5 Amazon US Gift Card every month: https://t.co/6B7trIIph6

They’re blissfully happy and loves all things chocolate, books, music, movies, art, sports, trains, history, cooking and baking. Their mantra is to spread the Light.

Most of the time you can find them on Twitter or getting new ideas on how to spread the Light on Pinterest. They’re a proud member of ASMSG and Independent Author Network.

In addition to being authors, they’re also book promoters/reviewers, social media marketers/influencers and the owners of N. N. Light Author Promotions. They both love books, have ever since they were young. Matching up books and readers is something that gives them great pleasure.

Social Media Links

Website | Blog | Newsletter | Goodreads | Twitter | Bookbub | Pinterest | Google+ | Instagram | LinkedIn | Amazon Author Page | Independent Author Network

Joanne here!

Thanks for sharing your inspiring journey. I enjoyed reading and highly recommend N.N Light’s Book of Daily Inspiration.


For over a year, I have followed Mrs. N’s delightful blog. Each day, I look forward to reading her daily dose of inspiration and/or motivation. I was thrilled when I learned she had compiled all that positive energy into this collection of quotations, anecdotes, and reflections. If you’re looking for a devotional to uplift your spirits or simply want to jump-start your day with practical, down-to-earth advice, pick up this collection. And consider putting it on your list of Gifts-to-Buy for family and friends.


The Fringe Benefits of Failure

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.

Best known for writing the Harry Potter fantasy series, J.K. Rowling has experienced a “rags to riches” life in which she progressed from living on state benefits to multi-millionaire status. She is the United Kingdom’s best-selling living author, with sales in excess of £238M.

In her inspiring and entertaining commencement address to the class of 2008 at Harvard University, J.K. Rowling offered powerful advice to dreamers and overachievers, including one hard-won lesson that she deems “worth more than any qualification I have ever learned.”



Movie Review: Battle of the Sexes

Almost forty-five years have passed since the 1973 clash between women’s tennis champion Billie Jean King and self-proclaimed male chauvinist pig Bobby Riggs. I can still recall the excitement and anticipation around the televised match. Along with millions of viewers worldwide, I watched as both players competed for the winner’s trophy, a cash prize of $100,000, and lifelong acclaim. As for the backstory, I knew very little about their personal struggles and the level of misogyny that existed within the tennis establishment.

Directors Jonathon Dayton and Valerie Ferris have created an entertaining and multi-layered film that explores and exposes those issues while demonstrating equal sympathy for Billie Jean King (Emma Stone) and Bobby Riggs (Steve Carrell). Both actors deliver stellar performances, worthy of their Golden Globe nominations. Hopefully, Oscar nominations will follow.

A feminist symbol, King didn’t hesitate to point out the disparity that existed within the sport: male winners received eight times as much as their female counterparts. But her complaints fell on deaf ears. In a patronizing tone, retired pro Jack Kramer (Bill Pullman) justifies the discrepancy: “Men are more of a draw; the men are more exciting to watch…It’s not your fault. It’s just biology.”

Frustrated, King creates a woman’s pro circuit, sponsored by Virginia Slims Cigarettes. In a later confrontation, King faces down Kramer: “It’s when we want a little of what you’ve got, that’s what you can’t stand.” Off the court, King struggles with her sexuality as she vacillates between her marriage and a blossoming relationship with her hairdresser.

A chronic gambler, Riggs embraces his chauvinistic side, participating in a series of outlandish publicity stunts. Much of the humor in the film comes from Steve Carrell’s excellent portrayal of the over-the-hill hustler who likes to gamble big; Riggs actually wins a Rolls-Royce in one bet. On an ironic note…the chauvinist appears to be living off his wealthy wife.

The face-off in the Houston Astrodome is staged by stunt doubles shot from a distance with occasional glances at the stars. I enjoyed watching the audience reaction and was especially moved by one of the large signs: “Billy Jean for President.”

A well-crafted film that has relevance in our contemporary world.


Spotlight on Amey Zeigler

I’m happy to welcome Wild Rose Press author Amey Zeigler. Today, Amey shares her writing journey and her latest release, Baker’s Dozen.

Here’s Amey!

I first wanted to be a writer when I was nine years old. I stapled some construction paper around some printer paper and wrote the title, Young Author, on the front complete with a quill pen and ink. But I didn’t know what I was going to write on the inside, but it was going to be epic! I had read every Nancy Drew Casefiles they had in the local library and spent my own nine-year-old fortune on another twenty—which I still own. At that point, I decided to write mysteries. About this same time I watched the movie, Charade, for the first time, starring Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant. The twists and turns really captured my imagination. I wanted to write something like that. But how?

The first creative writing course I took was in college I got a C. That average grade made me work hard the next semester and with the help of my writing professor, I wrote a short story which was published. I learned that working hard can bring results.

After college I married and had a few kids. During this time my husband was in grad school. The paychecks were small and the bills were large. My dreams of becoming a writer seemed distant, even impossible while attending to the daily needs of small children and cleaning house. However, I kept starting stories, never finishing them, thinking of ideas but I was always too busy, too tired to write them down. Then one night my husband said, “Sit down and write a scene.” I did. He read it over and said, “This is good. Keep writing.” And so I did. I kept writing, sitting in an uncomfortable cane-woven thrift store chair at a desktop computer we nicknamed Frank after Frankenstein because my husband built him out of a hodge-podge of parts. After about 90,000 words my husband said, “It’s time to get you a real computer.” With my new laptop, and in the comfort of writing in my bed, I finally finished my first novel about a half-Pixie girl. I was so pleased to finally have finished a novel! But I wanted more. I wanted publication. And I needed an identity. Who was I as a writer?

When I had been seriously writing for about two years, my husband asked me what kind of writer I wanted to be. I didn’t know. Should I be a literary writer posing deep thoughts in obscure prose or weave tales of adventure and escapism in popular fiction? I needed to find out. I needed to find my raison d’être. One dark January day, while I was in the throes of post-partem depression after the birth of my third child, I picked up a book at the library. It was the third book in a YA series. Though I had read the first book and not the second in the series, I started reading it. It had action. It had adventure. A dash of comedy and most importantly romance. Somehow, that combination burst through the fog of depression and hit the dopamine center in my brain. It healed me. Or at least part of me. And I knew, I knew then and there, that I wanted to write books that surprised, delighted and entertained readers. I thought back to my earlier love of mysteries, my fascination with Charade. I knew my stories must have a combination of action, adventure, and romance. And I want to make people laugh.

Blurb

Twenty-three year-old investigative journalist, Andy Miller is armed with her many disguises and creativity to take down the riff-raff of Saint Louis. When her stepbrother is murdered by the mob, Andy soon discovers she’s out of her depth.

Enter Hugh Donaldson who has reasons of his own for discovering the murderer. He’ll use everything in his power to achieve that, including lying to Andy about his past. Dangerous as he is attractive, his martial arts skills and his quirky ways raise Andy’s suspicions.

Although Andy balks at his lies, Hugh’s charms, twenty-inch biceps, and electrifying blue eyes are difficult to resist. Striking out on their own, Hugh and Andy try to outwit each other as they traverse North America tracking down people connected to the case.

As clues disappear and the body count climbs, Andy and Hugh must trust each other and use their combined skills to bring the murderer to justice.

Buy links

Barnes & Noble |Amazon | The Wild Rose Press | iTunes

Where to find Amey…

Blog | Website | Amazon | Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook


Celebrating La Befana

befanaGrowing up, we celebrated the feast of the Epiphany with a special meal and treats. While my brothers and I attached more significance to Christmas Day, my mother considered January 6th to be the Italian Christmas. She would regale us with tales of la Befana, the friendly witch who delivered gifts to good children and lumps of coal to the bad ones.

Over the years, I’ve heard many variations of this tale, but I still prefer my mother’s version.

Enjoy!

The Magi stopped at la Befana’s house on their way to visit Baby Jesus. The gracious hostess treated them to a meal and offered them shelter for the night. She also gave them directions. Touched by her hospitality, the three kings invited her to accompany them on their journey, but she declined. She had too much housework. After they left, she changed her mind and decided to join them. She packed up some toys for the newborn child and set off on the journey. She never caught up to them. Disappointed but practical, she decided to share her bounty of toys. To this day, she delivers her gifts to Italian children on the night before the Epiphany.

Does anyone else celebrate the feast of the Epiphany? I would love to hear about your traditions.

HAPPY BEFANA!