4 Days In California

In last week’s post I mentioned that I was travelling to California for the weekend. This week I’d like to share why I was in California. California is where I spent the majority of my life, living mostly in Southern California.

California is where I met one of my dearest friends, Cyhndi Mora. If you know me or have been reading this blog long enough to know her name, then you may already know that she was also my Reiki Master Teacher.

My trip was to celebrate Cyhndi’s life, as she left this world in August.

I always try to enjoy the rainbows and the growth that comes from challenging times, which is why I didn’t make the trip all about losing Cyhndi. Instead, I took the opportunity to spend time with family who live close enough to make it feasible to visit by flying in a day earlier. I hadn’t seen them in too long. Facebook is fantastic for knowing some of what goes on with them, but it doesn’t take the place of a sit down and chat visit. Or a hug. Two of them don’t use Facebook or any social media at all.

Another day was added to spend time with a fellow mystic; to explore the parts of ourselves in ways that nurture our spirits and bring our minds into balance and understanding of how vast, and how simple, our spiritual selves are. To simplify this, we chatted, worked with Reiki, reflected and affirmed what we are each faced with in our individual lives. Then we took a walk on a gorgeous day in the sunshine and ate jackfruit bowls at Trejo’s Tacos before shopping for souvenirs to take home to those closest to me.

I had a health foodie and author moment by myself earlier at breakfast when I ate at Cafe Gratitude. This vegan quiche is what I envision on Life Force Holistic Health Center’s home delivery program. If you’re new to this idea and like the sound of it, check out Desert Sunrise, the second book in the Natural Gifts series, where the concept for Life Force Holistic Health Center was born.

Called “Content” on the breakfast menu

This was a thrilling affirmation that I was supposed to be exactly where I was!

Then came the hardest and easiest part – gathering with friends I cherish, and those I’ve known because we were each a part of Cyhndi’s life. It is through the peace of meditative practice that I am able to write about this and share it. I knew next to nothing about meditation before Cyhndi gave me my first guided meditation CD, recorded by William Rand.

It may not be possible to put into words what an amazing being Cyhndi was, but I’ll try to show you a glimpse through this recording from 2005 of Et Spera performing my favorite of their songs. That’s Cyhndi singing at the microphone in the black tank top.

My fourth day in California was mostly spent getting back home, with the bittersweet memories I made circling with the extra time I spent meditating alone in a hotel room and the joy of reading a fantastic new release; Aurora Blazing by Jessie Mihalik. Books are always part of the story and I think Cyhndi would have enjoyed this one.

Rest in peace, Cyhndi. Thank you for all the love you shared in your time here. Thank you for reconnecting me with my family, dreams, past, present, future, and friends. Thank you for 4 days in California.

Thank you for reading,

Gina

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Sharon Ledwith’s #authorlife Experiment: Making the Unfamiliar, Familiar

Last month I followed Sharon’s #authorlife experiment on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Her challenge was to post a new photo and tell us how it illustrated her life as an author.

Post after post revealed parts of her life that I recognized in my own and inspired me with new ideas. By the end of the month I was really glad she took the challenge because I felt a new, deeper connection with her.

Now you get to read how the challenge effected her and what might be in it for you if you tried to do the same. She’s already warmed up the hashtag for you.

Last Photo Of Sharon With Her Buddy

I’m sure you’ve heard that getting out of your comfort zone can be a painful, often scary experience, but the end results usually end in transformation and growth. Right? Well, I recently watched a YouTube video done by Canadian entrepreneur Evan Carmichael about trying to share an image of yourself on your social media accounts for 30 days straight, and then seeing what happens after the month has ended. The thought of doing that made me squirm inside. You see, I’m an introvert at heart, and like to keep my personal life…well, personal. Sharing an image of myself—with all my winkles and flaws—a day for an entire month seemed downright weird and just a little egostical. Besides, what kind of image would I post, and what would I talk about? Then, I approached my publisher, Justine with this idea, and she suggested that I share an image of a day in the life of an author, and call it #authorlife. My eyes widened, and I resonated with her suggestion immediately.


So, choosing the month of September 2019 for my #authorlife experiment, I decided to take a shot and put myself out there for 30 days sharing what it’s like to live in my ‘author’ shoes. And yes, it was scary, and yes it was painful, but I managed to complete this task, not missing a day, but one—September 10th, the day after we put our 12-year-old Labrador down. I dedicated that #authorlife spot to my yellow fellow, who went peacefully in my arms the day before. I was a mess and grieving for weeks after that, but plodded on, taking selfies and sharing what I was up to each day. It was awkward and hard, but I managed to make the unfamiliar, familiar, and I found it got easier to find things to share and talk about.

I’ll Miss You, Lorri Carpenter

Using my Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts, I shared book marketing ideas, books I’m reading, a dedication to my dear author friend, Lorri Carpenter who passed away the same week as my dog, my morning exercise regime, took you grocery shopping, for a walk, paying bills, researching for my work-in-progress, flashed shameless plugs, and the list went on. After all, life if full of mundane routines too. And a writer’s life is no exception. I’m sure Stephen King still takes out the trash or puts away the dishes. Makes us human, and more relatable.


One of the most cherished #authorlife images was taken on Labor Day with my dog just before I took him for his walk. It was the last photo I have of him before he passed on a week later. You can’t get moments like that back. Ever. So I would like to think that this little experiment was a success. Personally and professionally. I managed to get way out of my comfort zone, build up my social media platforms, engaged with people who seemed quite interested in my journey, had fun, got creative, and shared a piece of myself that I would have never shared before. Did this result in more book sales? Not sure, but I really don’t care. This was about growing as a person, getting more self-confident, and seeing how much I changed throughout the month. Especially when I wasn’t wearing any makeup! LOL! How brave was that? Wink.

One Of The Most Commented On Posts!

Would I do it again? Not for 30 days straight, but I’ve decided to keep posting my #authorlife images at least once or twice a week. It’s an investment in my self-worth, and hopefully will help other writers by giving them ideas or letting them know that they’re not alone in this crazy publishing business. Plus, you put yourself out there, and connect with people on a different level where you’re not pandering to them, but giving them a smile or helping hand instead. And that’s what I call success in any vocation. I want to thank all those who traveled this #authorlife journey with me, and commented on, liked, or shared what I’d been doing that day. Your kindness and support are so appreciated.

Sharon Ledwith is the author of the middle-grade/young adult time travel adventure series, THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS, and the teen psychic mystery series, MYSTERIOUS TALES FROM FAIRY FALLS. When not writing, researching, or revising, she enjoys reading, exercising, anything arcane, and an occasional dram of scotch. Sharon lives a serene, yet busy life in a southern tourist region of Ontario, Canada, with her hubby, one spoiled yellow Labrador and a moody calico cat.Connect with Sharon Ledwith:

Sharon’s Website: www.sharonledwith.com

Sharon’s Blog: http://sharonledwith.blogspot.com/

Sharon’s Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/#!/seledwithThe Last Timekeepers Series Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/The-Last-Timekeepers-Time-Travel-Series/373953795955372

Twitter: @sharonledwith: https://twitter.com/?iid=am-82952056813386643146889016&nid=23+following_user&uid=525750371&utm_content=profile#!/sharonledwithGoodreads Author Page: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5821744.Sharon_Ledwith

What’s your favorite part of this post? I’d love to know!

Thanks for reading!

Gina

Tami Cowden Presents Fallen Heroes Workshop In Richardson, Texas October 12th, 2019

October 12, 2019: Tami Cowden presents Fallen Heroes: Sixteen Master Villian Archetypes

This workshop has a fee & attendees must be a member of RWA.

A workshop based on Ms. Cowden’s latest book. Sixteen literary villain archetypes are identified and their motivations examined. Reveals and shows what happens when heroes and heroines turn to the dark side.

Tami Cowden lives and writes in Las Vegas, Nevada. Her first novel, Cruising for Love, won a Golden Heart from Romance Writers of America, and was published initially by Avalon. It is now available from Montlake Romance.

Tami is also the coauthor of The Complete Writers Guide to Heroes and Heroines: Sixteen Master Archetypes, a guide to characterization for writers. Tami has presented writing programs on characterization, plotting and scene building at more than 100 writing conferences and retreats, as well as online. Due to popular demand, she also authored a follow up book, Fallen Heroes: Sixteen Villain Archetypes.

A lawyer by day, she is now working on a mystery series about a divorce lawyer who inherits a Las Vegas wedding chapel. Tami lives in Las Vegas with her husband, two basset hounds, and four cats. Visit her website by clicking here.

Click here for details and registration.

Do you use The Complete Writer’s Guide to Heroes and Heroines:Sixteen Master Archetypes when you’re building a character?

If you’re coming to the workshop, be sure to tell me so we can say hi!

Thanks for reading!

Gina


My Accidental Low Buy Year – Guest Post By Chris Pavesic

I’ve been reading Chris’ posts about skincare and conscious purchasing for a while now and I am thrilled to bring the topic to my blog today to share with you. There’s a lot to be learned here. Thank you for sharing this with us, Chris!

This is a difficult blog post to start writing. I’ve actually begun several times and scrapped the ideas because it didn’t seem right. I couldn’t get the correct words down on the screen. But here it goes. I hope it makes sense.

I’m a makeup and skin care enthusiast. I enjoy using products and comparing them. I enjoy researching ingredients and formulas. I enjoy reading about new products, watching YouTube videos about new releases, and talking about them with my friends. What I didn’t do last year was write about them very much.

It is true that I cut down the amount of posts I created in 2018. (I wrote a lot more in 2017). But that wasn’t the only reason. I didn’t write about makeup or skincare in 2018 because I simply didn’t buy much starting in March, 2018. (My birthday month.)

I was on a low-buy year without actually planning to be on one.

There were three reasons for this accidental low-buy year: One: I purchased quite a few products in 2017 that I was excited to use. I had multiple products that filled the same purpose in my skincare and beauty regimen. So many that I started to feel uncomfortable with the number of items I owned.

It’s been a full year and, yeah, I still have items to get through. I had more than a year’s worth of “backups” for some products.

*Takes a deep breath.*

I had to let that sink in for a minute. A full year. I had too many.

I’m not a minimalist, but I am striving to consume less. I did go through the KonMarie method for decluttering clothing, household items, and so forth. (If you followed her method: I still need to do sentimental items.) I even (gasp) got rid of some books. (Textbooks from my college days. They needed to go.) And I feel better having a more minimal wardrobe and less boxes of stuff stored in my spare bedroom and basement. I kept the items that “sparked joy” in those categories and haven’t looked back.

Two: Products don’t last forever. They expire. It’s a use-it-or-lose-it situation. I decided that I would use the products I had—ones that I was excited to use—before I purchased any more in that category. I did purchase a few items that I had panned (used up completely.)  Lip balm made it into my cart because I have dry skin and live in the Midwest. (The struggle to have well-hydrated skin, especially on my lips, is real!) I also bought skin cleanser and shampoo because I developed an allergy to sodium lauryl sulfate and had switch to sulfate free versions.

Three: I didn’t purchase a lot of makeup products (eyeshadow, blush, highlighter) because I have ones that I enjoy. I have one face and can only use so many products in a day. If I bought something new in a category—an eyeshadow palette for instance—I would need to use it in place of something I already owned. And I enjoy the ones I own. The shadows are my favorite colors and formulas. Until I hit pan, or until the products go bad and I need to replace them, why buy something I might not like to replace an item that, in Marie Kondo’s terminology, “sparks joy” when I use it?

In case you are wondering: I currently have 8 eyeshadow palettes. I have tried more, but if something does not work well for me I pass it along to relatives. And in 2018 I didn’t buy any for myself. (I bought gifts for people. I don’t count those as purchases for me–although I keep the free samples that come with the orders.) Last year I completely panned one–the Too Faced Peppermint Mocha (pink) palette from the 2016 Christmas trio collection. It’s the one I used the most and it took me more than 2 years to get through it. Companies give you a lot of product in those palettes!

What did I really over-buy on in 2017? Face and body moisturizing creams, face products, and lipsticks. And I am using them up along with any samples I still have.

For 2019 I will be continuing my “low buy” project. I thought I would write about products that I have panned. Provide thorough reviews about products that are not new but may be undiscovered gems for my readers. Go through the large number of samples I have on hand and try items that way. Discuss new purchases when I eventually do make them and the reason why I switched from a tried-and-true product to something new. And discuss what the low buy year taught me along the way–and what I am (hopefully) still discovering.

I want to complete a second low buy year and write about products mindfully.

I will be interested to see if this type of topic is sustainable. If people will follow me on this journey. Let me know in the comments below if you have any questions or thoughts on minimalism, low buys, or conscious consumerism. Let me know if you enjoy posts of this kind. Please help to continue the conversation.

Thank you so much for reading. I appreciate your time and attention.

Have you minimized collections the way Chris has? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Thanks for reading,

Gina

Grandparent’s Day 2019

Today I took a few hours away from my careers to spend time with one of my inspirations, my preschool-age granddaughter. The occasion? Grandparent’s Day at school.

When her mom and uncle were in school I went to as many events as I could. It always felt like I didn’t make it to as many as I wanted to despite the fact that I was working and studying for the credentials that follow my name today.

Now it’s my granddaughter’s turn and there isn’t much that would keep me away from fun in the classroom and crafts with her. We both felt special when we walked down the hall to the conference room.

This is the what she made for me in honor of Grandparents Day. It’s on the refrigerator until it gets replaced there and goes into my scrapbook journal where it will stay forever as one of our best memories.

Her little voice, her cute face, her sense of wonder, the knowledge that we are part of one another, is so sacred to me. She’s one reason why this life is precious.

I spend a lot of my time writing books she won’t be able to read for a long time yet, and may never want to read because they are fantasy romances written by her grandmother, but that doesn’t stop her from being my inspiration. One of the reasons I work hard is to leave a legacy for her.

We’ll see how that works out!

Spending time with my granddaughter refuels my spirit. What do you do to refill yours?

Thanks for reading!

Gina