Wrapping Up November

I won't bemoan the fact that 2021 has flown by like a flock of wild ducks at sunset desperatate to find their roosting spot for the night.

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving and saw part of our family we hadn't seen since CoVid began last year.

CoVid seems to be as bad as a plague of zombies. It just keeps coming.

As the year winds down, make a resolution now not to let CoVid defeat you. Do what's needed to put a stop to the disease. Resolve not to let it steal your joy, your health, and your optimism.

Life is good even when it's not perfect.

The Christmas season starts tomorrow. Delight in the decoration, the kindness and generosity the season represents, and show kindness and generosity to all. Be patient. Choose to look on the bright side.

Read a bunch of Christmas romance novels. After all, Romance is the Optimistic Genre. Wallow in it. 

Here are a few of my Christmas Romances for your consideration. You can find them all on my Amazon page. Several of them are also on other retailers. I'll list them again another time with their individual buy links.

Oh, my! I didn't realize I had so many Christmas Romances!

I'll be giving away books and reducing prices on my books all December long for those who subscribe to my free newsletter.  If you're not a subscriber, sign up! You'll even get a download link for a free romance ebook when you confirm your subscription, or opt-in.

Takeaway Truth

Like they say in Hollywood, that's a wrap for November.


Photo Credit:  Image "Cup Red Coffee" by silviarita from Pixabay.

Update on 1, 3, 5 List Method for Achievement

I first blogged about the  1, 3, 5 List Method, a plan to get things done whether that's cleaning out the garage or writing a book, in May 2020, just as CoVid was rearing its ugly head in Houston.

Then I did an update, 79 Days of Using 1, 3, 5 List in July 2020 because this plan literally changed my life!

Now, it's been 18 months since I started using the 1, 3, 5 List Method. I think it's time for an update.

First, a caveat. I used it sporadically from May to September because (a) I was moving and working with contractors on remodeling our new home, (b) I had a daughter who was seriously ill with CoVid, and (c) my office was buried under boxes and piled up papers until the end of September. 

The Rules of 1-3-5 List Method

Write down 1 big awesome task.

This is your priority item. This is what you say you really want to do, but you don't seem to be making any progress on it.

You know what it is even though you may think you have 5-10 priority items to accomplish today. Be honest. What's the most important thing you need to do to get that 1 big awesome task? It's the one that will yield the greatest rewards when completed.

Write down 3 medium tasks that should be done before the day is over.

Write down 5 little things that should be done IF you can get to them.

It's as simple as that. 

When you finish your workday, make tomorrow's 1-3-5 list. That way when you get to your desk tomorrow, you know exactly what needs to be done first.

No pondering or sighing because something landed in your inbox or you received a text that you think needs to be answered asap. If it's not on your list, ask yourself if it really needs to be done before your 1 big awesome task.

How Did This Change My Life

You can read my 79 Days of Using 1, 3, 5 List update post to see what I accomplished in 79 days after beginning the method.

I'll skip forward to 2021. I used this fabulous little method from January through May. Every day. This is what I achieved.

1. Wrote and published Every Little Lie, a romance novel with women's fiction elements and a bit of a mystery, on Feb. 28, 2021.

2. Wrote and published April Fool Proposition, a short sensual novel that's part of my A Moment in Time series, on April 4, 2021.

3. Published a free ebook, an introduction to the Last Chance Beach Romance series on May 20, 2021. (Get your free copy today. 

4. Wrote and published a novel, Deceptively Yours, a long novel with a big mystery, a part of the Last Chance Beach Romance series, on May 23, 2021.

5. Listed our house for sale. Sold it in a week. Bought another house. Packed up our entire household.

Moving Suspended Method

Then we moved. Enough said. If you've ever moved, you know the kind of chaos it creates in one's life.

I didn't unpack the last box until a week before Thanksgiving. I managed to get my office set up before then, but my desk was covered with papers and other detritus that couldn't be immediately put away for whatever reason.

I was thrilled when I found my 2021 Diary in a box of office supplies.

Onward and Upward

With Thanksgiving over and my 2021 Planner in hand, I made my 1, 3, 5 List for today. It was a good feeling.

You don't have to use a day planner, journal, or blank book, but I find using a day planner like the one shown here keeps me on task. In fact, I just ordered my 2022 planner. It's the same as the one shown here. I've used this diary/planner product for 3 years, and I like it.

The one for 2022 is black faux leather and was only $16.99 when I ordered from Amazon just now.

I'll do another update after New Year's and tell you if I've accomplished the items on my goal list for the remaining weeks of the year.

Takeaway Truth

If you're having difficulty accomplishing things, I urge you to try this simple method. I'm not the one who created it, but I am one of many who use it succcessfully.

Photo Credit: Image "Drink, Coffee, Work" by Free Stock Photos from www.picjumbo.com from Pixabay. Thank you! 

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Catch me online: Amazon | BookBub | Facebook | Twitter.

New Release: The Rumball Rumba by Bonnie Edwards

Today I have a treat for you. My friend Bonnie Edwards has a brand new holiday romance you're going to love—The Rumball Rumba.

Just the book's title tells you it's going to be fun.

Getting to Know Bonnie Edwards

In case you've not read Bonnie before, let me tell you a bit about her.

She's been writing all her life, starting with a poem about Santa suffering with gout. She was seven, Santa was a thousand-teen years old.

Delighted with writing, she went on to write family sagas, humorous contemporary romance, romantic suspense, erotic paranormal ghost romances and more.

She may jump around within romance, but all her stories come with a tear, a laugh, and a happy ending.

Published by Kensington Books, Harlequin Books, Carina Press, and Robinson (UK) Bonnie’s stories stretch from short stories to novellas and novels. Now, she's happy to be publishing her work herself.

With over 35 titles to her credit, she has been translated into several languages and sold books worldwide. Aside from standalone romances, she has 4 ongoing romance series, Tales of Perdition, The Brantons, and Love at Christmas. Contemporary family sagas find a home in Return to Welcome.

Now she's hard at work on two new series. Learn about more exciting releases and get a free romance by subscribing to her newsletter, Bonnie’s Newsy Bits.

Follow Bonnie Edwards Online

At Christmas, a secret baby arrives in Dickens…

Pregnant and divorced, successful artist Trix Warden returns to Dickens to raise her child surrounded by family. To do that, she needs to renovate a horse barn into a gallery/market for other artists.

At 37, her baby is an unexpected miracle that is hers alone. Determined to get everything done before Delivery Day, she hires widowed single father, Jon Carpenter to do her renovations.

As they move through the work, they spend time together enjoying the holiday season. Trix helps Jon through tricky times as a parent of teens, and he offers support throughout her pregnancy.

Their friendly business relationship blossoms into mutual attraction, and on Christmas Eve, when the baby comes early, Trix trusts Jon with her secret and her heart. But the secret Trix reveals creates a deep divide between them as Jon struggles to accept the decision Trix has made.

Trix is afraid her secret Christmas baby, and her choices, may tear their newfound love to shreds.

Bonus! Included is a recipe for No Bake, No Rum, Rum Balls.

Ready for an Excerpt from The Rumball Rumba?

Chapter One
July 3
The small town of Dickens

“I’m getting a divorce.” Those words had seemed like a dreadful announcement to give her family last Christmas, but she’d weathered the storm. The combined Moore and James families had rallied quickly and supported her through the whole messy business. Dale, her husband of too many years, had left her for his much younger receptionist.

It still pinched that she was the first divorcee in her family. Trix Warden, loser at marriage. Last Christmas she couldn’t imagine anything worse.

Until now, today.

Because today she got to say the words, “I’m pregnant. I’m a pregnant divorcee.” She winced because that wasn’t the worst of it.

She smoothed her flowy white blouse and denim shorts as she walked the hall in Gram’s house.

Everyone had gathered for the Fourth of July weekend. From the kitchen she saw them on the patio, sitting on chairs in a semi-circle, cold drinks in hand. Her cousins Kayley and Brenna sat beside Brenna’s husband, Jett. He wore his usual expression; besotted. Not only did he love her cousin he was wealthy and generous. Kind, too. They’d only been married a few months having met right here in Dickens last Christmas.

She’d overshadowed their budding romance with her horrid divorce announcement, but that couldn’t be helped.

She sucked in her belly and plastered on a smile. Her Egyptian cotton top was long and roomy. It was perfect for July heat. This morning, without warning, she’d been unable to zip up her best pair of shorts, so she’d dug through her ‘big’ clothes and cut off her pre-divorce jeans above the knee. She needed to give her blossoming tummy more room.

Trix drew in a breath and slid open the screen slider. “Hi everyone. I finally made it. Getting out of Brooklyn was a bear.”

Takeaway Truth

Bonnie Edwards—Earthy, Irreverent...Real Romance—is an author you'll want to add to your must-reads.

Pick up your copy of The Rumball Rumba today.

Want a Cocktail? Try a Thankstini

I fought the crowds in the supermarket today.

It was more frantic than a BOGO sale at Neiman Marcus—if that upscale department store actually had a BOGO sale which they don't.

After filling a shopping cart, checking out, trundling the cart to my car, risking a hernated disk by loading the gazillion plastic bags in the trunk of my car, driving home through suicide alley aka my local freeway, unloading the car, lugging the bags inside, putting away enough food to stave off the next famine, and collapsing on the sofa while I wondered what I could cook for tonight's dinner, I thought of the perfect drink to go with my exhaustion and general disgruntlement.

The Thankstini

Ah, yes. a cocktail sure to knock the stuffing out of you if grocery shopping didn't do it. The Thankstini, created by Barney Stinson of How I Met Your Mother.

Never heard of it? Then you must not be a Barney Stinson fan. Barney described it this way: "A fun and delicious new novelty drink I invented. Cranberry juice, potato vodka, and a bouillon cube. Tastes just like a turkey dinner."

Takeaway Truth

I could have served Thankstinis and saved a fortune on turkey, gravy, white potatoes, yams, cranberry sauce, green beans, salads, pumpkin pie, lemon pie, apple cake, Jello salad, etc. Hope I didn't forget the Alka Seltzer!

5 Crucial Website Pages

I'm still trying to get my domain moved so my website is down as is my domain email.

I know what content I want to put on my website once it's live again starting with the pages that are absolutely necessary.

Unfortunately, I see websites all the time that lack a crucial page.

5 Crucial Website Pages

#1 — Home Page aka Landing Page

This is the landing page which many think is not needed. I think you do need it. It should contain a welcome message, a current news release like a sale, a new release, coming soon, etc., and links to various pages on your site. This page can be a CTA (call to action) for your readers.

#2 — Book Page or Pages

This page shows your books (covers, short blurbs, buy links). If you have just a few books, you can use only 1 page. If you have a lot of books, you may want to set up several pages. It's your choice how you want to organize it: by series names, by genre or sub-genre, etc.

#3 — Blog, Event, or News Page

If your website theme allows for an interactive page, set one up depending on your time and ability to interact with your readers. If you set up an interactive page, be sure to update it on a consistent basis.

#4 — Author Bio Page

Many readers want to know about you the Author. Give them a bio page with your social links and a photo. Make it as formal or informal and chatty as you wish. You want to be friendly and accessible.

#5 — Contact Page

Readers may want to get in touch with you so always have a contact page with an email address or contact form. Repeat your social media links here. This is the one page that most websites lack.

Takeaway Truth

If you want to learn more about the basics of website design, try How to Create a Website: A Step by Step Guide available on Amazon.

Review: Red Notice on Netflix

Red Notice, a film written and directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber, is a Netflix Original, and it was our choice for a movie this weekend.

Short Blurb

You've probably seen the trailers on YouTube and/or Netflix. Even if you haven't, the film has a somewhat familiar plot.

Dwayne Johnson stars as an FBI agent reluctantly teamed with a renowned art thief—the awesome Ryan Reynolds—in an attempt to catch a notorious criminal known as the Bishop—that would be Gal Gadot in another strong woman role.

If you want to read a lengthy plot description, visit the Red Notice Wiki.

Film's History

This movie is the 3rd time Johnson and Thurber have collaborated, and it seems they work well together.

Red Notice was planned as a release by Universal Pictures. Netflix acquired distribution rights, and the film began a limited theatrical release on November 5, 2021. For lucky Netflix subscribers, Red Notice began streaming on their platform a week later.

My Review

I'm surprised the movie received generally negative reviews from critics. 

Red Notice is one of the most entertaining films I've seen in quite some time.

I didn't go into it expecting life-altering drama or anything other than entertainment, humor, likable characters, good acting, solid plot, and awesome action stunts.

I was not disappointed. The film clicks on all those levels and even has some nice twists and turns. Even the ending is done well as it is a setup for other films in what may well become a popular franchise. At least I hope it will.

Red Notice is in theaters and, for subscribers, on Netflix. Watch it. You'll be entertained, and you'll laugh. That's a blessing in this CoVid era. Darling Hubby and I give Red Notice 4 thumbs up!

If you don't want to go to theaters, and you aren't a Netflix subscriber, you can rent another 2021 Ryan Reynolds film, Free Guy, on Amazon. Reynolds is king of the comedy/action flick, a genre I embrace.  

Takeaway Truth

I'm willing to bet you too will like Red Notice. Let me know what you think in Comments.

Another Free Jonathon Stone Mystery

Want a free mystery short story? James Moushon, Author Advocate and book industry blogger, is the author of the Jonathan Stone Mystery Series.

James is giving away copies of Operation Hidden Truth from now until November 12.

About Operation Hidden Truth

Stone is a CIA agent who works domestically. He's assigned to the CLASSIFIED CIA DOT Division. His ops involve terrorism and espionage.

Stone tries to catch an elusive terrorist before he can leak government secrets.

A plea bargain turns deadly, and a known gun runner is the primary suspect. Jonathon Stone becomes involved with the FBI to try to catch the elusive terrorist. 

With espionage and government secrets in play, the DHS suddenly becomes a problem. Jonathon needs to be on top of his game for this op.

About James Moushon

Join James and the HBSystems Publications Short Story FREE Stones Promotion for the Jonathon Stone Mysteries Series.

Operation Hidden Truth is available at Amazon FREE until 11/12/2021 so get your copy today. 

Each short story in the series will be FREE in the next few months. Check out the HBS Author's Spotlight  or James's website for more information.

Takeaway Truth

Load up your Kindle with these free ebooks for some reading fun.

Writer's Corner: Dialogue Tips #1

I thought I'd start giving a few tips to those who want to "become" authors.

Not every day but maybe once every week or week and a half.

Let's start with Dialogue since I think this is the easiest element of writing for most beginners—especially if you're the type who thinks snappy retorts to another but rarely says the sassy words aloud.

1. Dialogue should sound believable in keeping with the character.

Dialogue reflects the speaker's educational level, personality, attitudes, economic status, age, and sometimes ethnicity, country of origin, and country of residence. 

A young man from a traditionally wealthy background and educated at Harvard will probably speak differently than a young man with a high school diploma from a blue collar family in a small town. 

That small town young man will speak differently than a young man from an immigrant family where all members of the family work multiple jobs to attain the American dream.

2. Dialogue should sound like people actually speak.

Have you ever read a story in which characters do not speak in contractions? 

Someone running for her life does not scream, "Help! A man is chasing me. He has a knife. He is going to kill me." 

The woman would scream, "Help! A man's chasing me. He's got a knife. He's going to kill me."

Dialogue without contractions sounds stilted and formal. It drags the pace of a story. Readers won't find your story compelling. They can not because people in contemporary culture don't talk like that. Write the way real people speak.

Exceptions? Someone speaking without contractions to emphasize what they're saying. Example: "I said do not leave the house, young man. You are grounded!"

Or, if you're writing in a historical period when contractions weren't commonly used.

3. Dialogue should be written without regard to proper grammar if that's the way the character speaks.

People talk in fragments quite often. Don't they? Most people don't speak in grammatically correct sentences. So don't write dialogue like that. 

Example: "Are you going out?"
"Guess not."
"Grounded, huh? Bummer."
I remember a retired teacher who wanted to be my proofreader. I gave her 10 pages.

She returned it with every contraction circled in red and the words for the contractions written out. Just in case I didn't know them, I guess.

I smiled and thanked her very much and assured her that was the only thing I needed proofread.

4. All dialogue should advance the story.

Dialogue should always move the story forward. It should reveal something about the internal landscape of the characters, the external perception of the characters, the protagonist's story goal, the conflict, or the plot. 

If dialogue is meaningless chit chat between characters, with nothing about the characters or the plot revealed, it should be cut.

5. There are two kinds of dialogue: internal and dialogue spoken aloud, and the two may be alike or may be different.

Example: A character raised in the South might say, "I'm fixing to go to town." But what if that character has trained herself through education and consciously eschewing the verbal habits of the South? Then she might say aloud, "I'm going to town." Of course, someone like that may speak well, but her internal dialogue may still reflect the verbal habits of her upbringing.

Takeaway Truth

I hope this helps those of you who are wannabe writers. If so, let me know by leaving a comment and tell me you want more of this type of post.

My thanks to the talented graphic artists and photographers who make their work free on Pixabay.

Image 1: Girls Happy Chat by Mircea from Pixabay.

Image 2: Girl Skirt Smile by GraphicMama-team from Pixabay.

Review: Monsters of Man

Surprise! A review of Monsters of Man, a science fiction action thriller included with Prime Video.

I say surprise because the movie surprised me with a good story, solid acting, and sound production values.

Monsters of Man, directed by Mark Toia, was selected by Darling Hubby for recent weekend viewing.

I had a book queued up on my Kindle to read since the movie sounded like so many other killer robot films.

To my surprise, the story caught me. Of course, veteran actor Neal McDonough stars as the villain of this story.

He's superb in everything. (I wish he could get a continuing series role on a streaming service because he is such a good actor.)

Accompanied by Brett Tutor, Jose RoseteDavid Haverty, Paul Haapaniemi, and an ensemble cast of nearly a dozen other actors, the film will definitely hold your interest. 

About Monsters of Man

A robotics company teams up with a corrupt CIA agent (Neal McDonough) conducting an illegal, unsanctioned military operation in which 4 prototype robots are dropped into a suspected drug manufacturing camp in the Golden triangle.

Unfortunately, 6 doctors volunteering their services there are witnesses to the brutal slaughter of a nearby village and are forced into a deadly game of cat and mouse as they become the new targets.

Two Thumbs Up

Brett Tutor as Mason is a likable hero with believable survival skills. 

Some of the people in the doctors' group are irritating in what has come to be clichéd behavior of people caught in perilous situations, i.e., acting in ways that make no sense, constant fighting among each other, etc.

Monsters of Man is free for Amazon Prime subscribers. If you're not a subscriber, you can either rent or buy the movie from Amazon

Takeaway Truth

I think this is a movie you'll enjoy especially if you like science fiction action thrillers with robots running amuck.

Quote from Desiderata

I unpacked the last box today and found the wooden plaque on which the Desiderata was laminated.

I've had this for years. I always hang it in a location in the house where we can read it frequently.

Written by Max Ehrmann (1872-1945) in the 1920's,  the Desiderata—Latin for things desired—this poem grew in popularity over the years especially in the "hippie" era which is when I bought the plaque I have.

Unfortunately, Ehrmann forfeited his copyright of the material because of free distribution in several projects.

(Authors should read the Wiki about it contains the full story of how it lost its copyright status and became part of pop culture.)

The truth of what Ehrmann wrote touches still inspires and brings comfort.

You can find the Desiderata in framed, ready to hang art suitable for any style of decorating on Amazon. I think I'm giving framed copies of the Desiderata as Christmas gifts this year.

Here are the opening sentences of the Desiderata.

"Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons."

Takeaway Truth

Keep those words in mind as you go through this week.

Saturday Share Recipe: Easiest Slow Cooker Chicken

If you've got a slow cooker and a chicken, pull both out and get ready to cook some comfort food. Defrost the chicken and start preparing this recipe.

Timing is everything. With a slow cooker, it takes 5-7 hours on low or 4-6 hours on high.

By the way, if you wonder why I frequently post a recipe on Saturday, it's because I think everyone should know how to cook.

It's an art that's easy to master, and the rewards are great. Most dishes are easy to cook. It usually takes no more time to cook a simple meal than it takes to pick up  orders at the curb ir drive-thru and heading home to reheat the food before you dine.

A side benefit is that cooking at home is much less expensive than eating out or picking up food even at the deli. 

Slow cookers make dinner easy with a minimum prep time required. If you don't have a slow cooker, they come in many brands, sizes, and upgrades. I have a Crock Pot that's lasted me years. It's only upgrade is that the crock is removable. 

Try some of the easy recipes I offer like today's "fix it and forget it" slow cooker recipe. 

CrockPot Chicken


1 medium onion, diced
1-2 stalks of celery, sliced
2-3 carrots, sliced
1/2 cup baby bella mushrooms, chopped (you can use 1 small can of mushrooms drained)
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 pound chicken thighs with bones and skin
1/2 cup chicken broth
salt, pepper, and flour
2 tablespoons vegetable oil


1. Wash and pat dry the chicken thighs. Trim off excess fat and extra skin but keep skin covering the meat.
2. Begin heating the oil in a skillet while you salt and pepper the chicken on both sides.
3. Dredge the chicken pieces in flour then place in the hot oil and brown on both sides.
4. Remove the chicken pieces. Reduce the heat and add all the vegetables. Saute 3-4 minutes until they're soft but not brown.
5. Place the chicken in your slow cooker then scoop out the vegetables from the saute pan and place on top of the chicken.
6. Mix the soup and the broth together and pour over the chicken.
7. Cook on low 5-7 hours or on high 4-6 hours. 
8. When at the low end of the cooking cycle, use a meat thermometer to check for doneness. Don't overcook or it will be mush.
9. Remove the chicken to a serving platter and remove the skin from the chicken. You cook it on the chicken to create the most flavor.
10. Pour the sauce including the vegetables into a bowl for serving with rice. You can also serve with noodles or mashed potatoes if you wish.

This easy and delicious entree makes 4 man-size servings or 6 regular servings.

Takeaway Truth

This is comfort food at its most flavorful. Btw, the except fat and skin you remove from the thighs can be added to your next batch of stock or bone broth.

Review: Locke & Key

At last, Netflix has released a new season of one of their popular series.

Season 2 of Locke & Key was released last week. Darling Hubby and I binge-watched it this week.

If you haven't heard about Locke & Key, it's a Netflix original series that deuted last year.

Locke & Key, the TV series, is based on is an American comic book series written by Joe Hill, illustrated by Gabriel Rodriguez, and published by IDW Publishing.

Quick 2 Cents

Imaginative with a compelling storyline. You'll want to watch this from Season 1, Episode 1 in order to understand the mythic world created in Locke & Key.

Each episode builds upon the previous ones, and the cliffhanger at the end of Season 1 will make you immediately want to begin Season 2. Of course, there's a cliffhanger, but don't let that deter you. Even the cliffhanger is satisfying in a humorously macabre way.

The Premise

The story shifts back and forth from current reality to memories of the past. A guidance counselor is murdered by a studient. Trying to move forward and leave the past behind, his widow moves their three children from Seattle back to Massachusetts where her husband grew up.

To their surprise, the family home is a Victorian mansion with as many secrets as there are rooms. Magic lives in Keyhouse, but the children—2 teens and a youngster—are the only ones who realize it. Adults can't. In fact, their conscious minds rationalize every odd occurence.

From that jumping off point, the story expands wtih dramatic highs and lows and magical events. As with anything "special" there's a price to pay, and they learn the price can be high.

Throw in a portal to another dimension, a psychopathic killer, demon possession, teen love and angst, and those in the know recognize that the fate of the world hangs in the balance.

Locks and keys abound in this series. You'll find yourself wishing you had some of these keys.

Spoiler Alert

Check out the list of all of the keys and what  they do on the Locke & Key Wiki.

The Cast

Connor Jessup as Tyler Locke, the oldest of the 3 kids.

Emilia Jones as Kinsey Locke, the daughter who's the middle child.

Jackson Robert Scott as Bode Locke, the precocious youngest child who seems smarter and more intuitive than anyone else in the series.

Darby Stanchfield as Nina Locke, the long-suffering mother who hasn't a clue.

Laysla de Oliveira as Dodge whose beauty hides her evil heart.

Griffin Gluck as Gabe, one of the boys who falls for Kinsey.

You'll recognize many of the other members of the cast which is believable in their roles.

Bottom Line

Compelling story with great visual imagery, imaginative storyline, believable characters, some great special effects, and a narrative that makes you beg for more. 

All of it makes you overlook some of the inconsistencies you'll note as well as elements "borrowed" from other media.

Takeaway Truth

Absolutely 2 thumbs up. You'll want to watch the whole 2 seasons again in order to catch some elements you may have missed with the first watching. You'll like this!


3 Great Personal Growth Videos

YouTube has millions of videos and countless numbers of them tell viewers how to feel better emotionally, how to overcome obstacles, how to achieve goals, etc.

We're all works in progress.

Like many of you, when I'm tackling something new, I armor myself with optimism, affirmations, a plan of attack, and anything else I think will help me achieve something new and/or different.

I stumbled across some trending videos on YouTube the other day, and I was struck by how common sense, articulate, and, well, doable the ideas expressed in them were.

Of course, I want to share them with everyone. Let me know what you think about them.

(1) What's Wrong With an Ordinary Life by Alain de Botton — Wow. Finally, someone says out loud that it's okay not to be a super star, a Steve Jobs, or an 18-year-old wunderkind. That living an ordinary life can be fulfilling and rewarding.

(2) How Changing Your Story Can Change Your Life by Dr. Bruce Lipton — Super Wow! This video addresses what holds each of us back: the self-identity held by our subconscious. This is our basic unconscious view of ourselves.

(3) The 2 Minute Rule Will Quickly Change Your Life by James Clear — Having a hard time just getting started on something you know you want to achieve? Here is the simplest way I've ever heard of to make yourself to take action.

I was so taken with the ideas in Bruce Lipton's video that I went to Amazon to find his books.

The Biology of Belief is the result of what Lipton discovered with his scientific research on how cells control their physiology and behavior. 

Takeaway Truth

These 3 videos come from the Fight Mediocrity Channel

I encourage you to visit the channel and make a playlist using the videos that might assist you in your journey.

Catch me online: Amazon | BookBub | Facebook | Twitter.

Window Over the Desk by Liz Flaherty

I'm thrilled to welcome my friend Liz Flaherty to SlingWords.

Liz is one of my favorite authors whether I'm reading a romance she's written or her blog Window Over the Sink.

Today, Liz is sharing an excerpt from her new book Window Over the Desk.

Come along with me and let me introduce you to Liz and to her new book.

Meet Liz Flaherty

Retired from the post office, Liz Flaherty spends non-writing time sewing, quilting, and wanting to travel. The author of 20-some books and her husband Duane share an old farmhouse in North Central Indiana that they talk about leaving.

However, that would require clearing baseball trophies from the attic and dusting the pictures of the Magnificent Seven, their grandchildren, so they’ll probably stay where they are.

“I love the opening scene. In my mind, it’s full and rich and will hook a reader so absolutely that she will be unable to stop reading even to go to work or fold the laundry.

"In quilting, when you sew a seam, you “set” it with the iron so it’s flat and flawless (in theory). My first scene is that to me. It sets the story on my heart so I have to tell it.

"It acquaints me with the people in the story, with the house’s front porch, with the dog named Ma...with the dog.

"Usually, by the time the book is done, the opening scene is either gone or rewritten beyond recognition. Doesn’t matter—it set the seam.” – Liz Flaherty, Window Over the Desk

Genesis of Window Over the Desk

In 2020, I released the first collection of Window Over the Sink columns. It was for my family, really, and to give my own ego a boost. (Any writer who says she doesn’t need that now and then is lying, by the way.)

It was so much fun.

Which is why I decided to open the Window Over the Desk. My view out this particular window is a favorite—even today, when I’m drying…things…on the clothesline. Also today, the hay bales in the field that have given me pleasure for several weeks have been gathered and stored for the long winter.

I hope the essays in this book give you some pleasant reading time over that winter. I hope they make you remember things, laugh sometimes, and refill your cup and sit down and read “just one more.”

As I mention way more often than is necessary, I’m kind of old. The years have dimmed some reflections through the window, brightened others, and changed a whole bunch of them. What a trip it’s been.

So many of my columns and blogs over the years have been about writing, and I tried to leave them out of the books of essays. 

However, about halfway through the last book, I realized I was leaving out not only essays I valued, but an integral part of myself.

So, in Window Over the Desk, there are several chapters dedicated to writers, to writing, to talking about quitting writing, to how much I hate writing, and how much I love it. I think every writer I know will identify with The Writing Pane, and I hope everyone else enjoys it, too.

Thanks—again—for joining me on the journey.

Giveaway! Giveaway!

Liz is giving away a Christmas ornament and a backlist paperback to a commenter who shares her favorite Christmas movie with us. 

To enter, all you need to do is leave a comment with your email addy written out, not as a hot link.

Liz will select a winner by random draw and notify the lucky reader by email.

Excerpt from Window Over the Desk

I thought for a long time that in order for my work to be credible, someone needed to be reading it. Someone needed to be paying me for it. Those are things I would always prefer, but credibility comes from within, doesn’t it? Do I write better when I have an audience? Yeah, I think so. Do I write better if there’s a paycheck attached? Not always. So, no, I won’t retire until I can’t operate a keyboard anymore.

You don’t “get over” losing people, do you? I think it gets better, but the getting better takes effort. It doesn’t mean you don’t talk about the ones you loved or that you don’t remember things. It doesn’t even mean you remember only the good things. What it means is, if they had a place in your heart while they were living, they still have it.

Having an empty nest means your life is, for the most part, your own again, and it’s up to you what you make of it. For us, live music, coffee shops, and writers’ groups have been new and exciting beginnings, including the friends, experiences, and good times I mentioned above.

Not being ready doesn’t stop things from happening. Life doesn’t go on hold until you’re ready to start living it again. It stops briefly, breathlessly, and waits for you to catch up. Do that. Don’t let it go on without you.

Add Liz's New Book to Your Library

Window Over the Desk from Amazon 

Trust me, you'll want Liz's first collection of essays too!

Window Over the Sink from Amazon

Takeaway Truth

Liz's writing is lyrical and profound. If you haven't read her before—fiction or nonfiction—you're in for a treat.

Free Stones—Jonathon Stone Mysteries That Is

My friend James Moushon, an author, a book industry blogger, and a best friend to authors, has a free mystery ebook for you! 

Operation Camp Navajo, a Jonathon Stone Mystery, is free until November 5, 2021.

There are 17 short stories in the series, and each story will be FREE in the next few months. Check AmazonHBS Author's Spotlight Blog, or James's Website for exact dates and details.

About Operation Camp Navajo

Jonathan Stone is a CIA agent who works domestically. He's assigned to the CLASSIFIED CIA DOT Division. His ops involve terrorism and espionage.

Camp Navajo Weapon Station near Flagstaff, Arizona, is robbed, and Stone and fellow agent Dale Oak are dispatched to the area to ensure that CIA weapons stored at the site are intact. Upon arrival, he finds the FBI has taken charge and has quickly caught the thieves.

Case closed. After a drive through the area and listening to the details of the crime from the FBI, things just don't add up. A complete search of the facilities finds explosives are missing. Stone is tasked with finding them before they are used.
Want to read more? Click here.

Check out the entire Jonathan Stone Mystery Series.

I think all are in Kindle Unlimited so if you're a subscriber, they're free reads. Lucky you!

Takeaway Truth

Remember, Operation Camp Navajo is free only until Nov. 5 so get your copy today.

If you're an author, thank James for his unflagging support.

Thank you, James! 

Rewards of Gratitude

It comes as no surprise that November, the month in which we celebrate Thanksgiving in the U.S.A., is also National Gratitude Month.

As many of you know, the past few months have been, well, more than challenging for me.

I found myself feeling very negative about life in general. Sure, I was physically tired, and that affected my moods, but being negative doesn't help. In fact, negativity can perpetuate the "down in the dumps" feeling.

Fortunately, there's a way one can overcome the tendency to be pessimistic. It's simple too.

Every morning when you're getting ready for the day, consciously think of 3 things fir which you are grateful. Seriously, think about each of those 3 things and acknowledge how grateful you are for those 3 things.

You can formalize this if you wish by writing the 3 items every morning or evening on whenever is a good time for you. There's a really neat Gratitude Journal on Amazon, the One-Minute Gratitude Journal, and it's only $6.99.

Think about it or write it down. Whatever works for you.

What this does is focus your attention on the positive things in your life rather than the negative. 

It's a way of seeing that the glass really is half full, not half empty.

When you focus on the positive, it improves your attitude. Do it often enough, and optimistic thoughts will come more quickly to you than pessimistic ones. 

If you always see the half-full glass, life will seem better. In fact, a positive attitude will improve your outlook on life and your ability to handle challenges.

Takeaway Truth

Since today is November 1, try this every day for the next 30. Be conscious of all that's good in your life. See if your overall attitude has improved by the end of the month. Btw, I'm grateful for those who read SlingWords. Have a great November!

Glass Image by HoldMyPixels from Pixabay.

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