Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Cat Therapy Release and Giveaway

Woohoo!

Cat Therapy is now available on Amazon as a Kindle and Print book.

I'm offering a rafflecopter giveaway to promote my book. The prizes are a signed copy of the print book of Cat Therapy, a catnip pouch for your beloved cat, and a polymer-clay cat necklace. The prizes will be posted to you when the rafflecopter ends.

I'm also looking for reviewers to read my book. My reviewers will get a beautiful cat coloring and sticker book with a book of cat images and quotes. You can enter this on the second rafflecopter below. All you have to do is show me your receipt of purchase and your review on Amazon. Prize is not dependent on how many stars you give my book. You just have to have read it to the end and reviewed it honestly.

These two giveaways will run until the end of March to give you time to read the book.

You can buy the book here: Amazon

Cat Therapy is a tender and funny women's fiction and romance novel about healing, love, and cats—lots of them!

Two-times divorcée Cherry Smith is quite happy with single life. Well, a little lonely at times—until she gets given four more cats to add to her two. When the kitten needs some shots, she visits the new vet in town. Dr. Jeff Clark turns out to be even more handsome than what she's heard. But Cherry can't let him distract her—she's been burned too many times by attractive men. Jeff makes her feel uncomfortable, especially when he seems to disapprove of her having six cats. To pacify him, she tells him that she's running a cat therapy hotel. As she ponders the lie, she realizes what a fantastic idea it is, especially since she has to move out of her home. With the help of her friend Delia, they set up a bed-and-breakfast facility.

People come from far and wide to enjoy the love of her cats, including a gentle widower named Seb, who needs help with his grieving son. Maybe she should rather date Seb. He'd make the perfect husband. And, much to her irritation, Jeff keeps checking up on her cat therapy hotel. How can she get rid of him? When Cherry is swept away by the trials and joys of her cat therapy hotel, she has to learn what she wants most in life and the true meaning of love and friendship.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

We Need to Get Rid of the Stigma of Mental Illness

Mental illness is just an illness. We are so blessed to live in a day and age where there are advanced drugs and ways to treat people so they can live close to normal lives. There are so many people who are walking around with undiagnosed mental illnesses, who are not getting the help they need because they see it as a weakness. But sometimes, the chemicals in our brains just go out of sync for several reasons. There is nothing weak and bad about seeking out medical help in this area.

The last few months have been quite stressful for me because of battling with strange physical symptoms. The doctor couldn't work out what was wrong with me and did several tests. She eventually booked me into the hospital to get an MRI on my brain and to do some other tests. The MRI came out clear and I did mention that I was very anxious at the time - the day of the MRI, I couldn't stop crying and felt really low and just had a feeling this was psychological. They sent a psychiatrist to look at me. She prescribed some anti-anxiety medicine and I felt strangely better except for rather sleepy. They discharged me but sent me to a special place called Nuture for about a week. This place was amazing. I got to see a psychologist and psychiatrist every day and listened to various up-building talks about handling stress and being more assertive. The vibe of the place was amazing. The other patients and I grew so close even though we'd only known each other a few days.

In the beginning, I was a little resistant to the psychiatrist giving me meds which were a long-term solution to anxiety and also a mild anti-depressant. But she managed to convince me the necessity of it and that she would watch the symptoms. Then the root of my issue with taking meds came out when I was talking to the psychologist. It came from other peoples' ignorance pushed upon me about mental health and medicine. When I was going through my divorce, I entered into a rebound relationship with a guy and one of the things he said to me was that he didn't date women who were on meds, that he didn't like the way they acted. I seemed to remember he described them as if they became like these robots with no emotions. Because I really wanted him to take me seriously and date me, I thought "I'm sure I'll manage going through this stressful time without meds. I'm surviving." But the body has only so much stress that it can handle when it eventually reaches a point where it needs some assistance. Turns out this guy was a player anyway and I was so stupid to hope I'd get a healthy relationship with him.

A few months after the conversation with him, I was a victim of crime where I was living and it sent me into a spiral of anxiety. I went to the GP for something out of desperation and he prescribed a really strong anti-depressant that made me feel awful - I felt numb and everything seemed to close in around me. There was another man I was in contact with and who I dated for a while. I told him about it and he said that any type of mental-health medication is bad for you. So, I promptly went off them and tried to handle things without the help. We did manage to move over to a safer area and my anxiety eased.

But then this last year, I've had one stress after the other. I never wanted to take medication and tried the natural route, which works a bit, but not enough. So, in the end, I'm glad this whole thing happened and I managed to work with a professional who knows how to treat me. I'm already starting to feel better. I have my moments but the meds do take almost a month to start working fully.

It's just so sad that I was subjected to the ignorance of others with regards to my health. I never wanted to be this weird robot of a person. But I've never felt like that on the latest medicine. I was made to feel like half a woman for needing help. I know that I've suffered anxiety most of my life. In fact, it started as a teenager. I've needed this for years, but the stigma attached to getting help with mental illness often stands in the way of getting the help we need. My psychiatrist said that 1 out of 4 people suffer from anxiety disorder. Yes, I know that there are ways to work with it without meds, and I've been working so hard on those for the last few years (like meditation, self-love, exercise), but sometimes life becomes one stress after another and you struggle to keep up. Part of self-love is being holistic in our treatment - using all the ways to work together to bring us to wholeness and happiness. Finally, I've found the missing link.

I hope that the message comes out strong that we should be open to all ways to heal our mental health. If you suffer from anxiety or depression, you are not a weak or bad person. It just is. It's like having a low thyroid or high blood pressure. It's not a sign of weakness to seek help but rather of strength and wisdom. It took me three years to realise this. Or let's say 30 years really. I hope no one has to suffer that long.

Saturday, October 26, 2019

My Up and Coming Sweet Romance / Women's Fiction

I'm so excited as Cat Therapy is heading towards formatting with its publisher, Black Opal Books. That means it should be coming out soonish. I have no idea when and I don't have a cover yet, but it's been such a lovely feeling working on the final edits. I read through the book yesterday, even though I was supposed to be having a rest from editing, but I wanted to get it done as next week I'm getting stuck into some editing jobs again. I try not to do much reading over the weekend as I need to rest my mind and eyes. I put it on my kindle. I always seem to find errors that way that I never pick up when reading it on the screen.

I signed a contract for Cat Therapy last year August, but there were some changes happening in Black Opal Books and some of their contracted books got delayed, mine being one of them. The wait was so hard. The book had been through the mill already with a challenging overhaul. It's had so many changes made to it, but I have to admit that I'm really happy with it now and that's rare for me - I'm overly critical of my own work.

I have been so indecisive on what genre to promote this book as. It's got a strong romance threading through it but it also has other stuff, so it reeks of women's fiction. I don't know if you've ever read Katie Fforde. She usually writes a story about a woman who has some life-changing and growth experiences in her life and places a strong romance in her novels. Well, it's like that. I wouldn't say my style is the same as hers, but it kind of reminds me of her books.

It's a book for cat lovers and those who want to learn about the magical love of cats.

Here is my latest blurb:



Cat Therapy is a tender and funny women's fiction / romance novel about healing, love, and cats—lots of them!

Two-times divorcée Cherry Smith is quite happy with single life. Well, a little lonely at times—until her elderly friends give her four cats. She already has two cats and a dog. Can she handle six cats? When the kitten needs her shots, she visits the new vet in town. Dr. Jeff Clark turns out to be even more handsome than what she's heard. But Cherry can't let him distract her. She's been burned too many times by attractive men. He makes her feel uncomfortable, especially when she tells him she has six cats, and he seems to disapprove. To pacify him, she says that she's running a cat therapy hotel. As she ponders the lie on her way home, she realizes what a fantastic idea it is. With the help of her friend Delia, they set up a bed and breakfast facility.

People come from far and wide to enjoy the love of her cats, including a gentle widower named Seb, who needs help with his grieving son. Cherry should really go for someone like him, but when the impossible Jeff Clark keeps wanting to check on her business, she can't help wanting to be with the man who takes her breath away. Friendship with him wouldn't be a good idea because she likes him too much and it's way too soon after his divorce. They just can't seem to see eye to eye either. Maybe she should rather date comfortable Seb. When Cherry is swept away by the trials and joys of her cat therapy hotel, she has to learn what she wants most in life and the true meaning of love and friendship.


Thursday, September 26, 2019

Does Loving Yourself Mean Not Caring about Your Health

I've written a lot of posts about body positivity lately. And I got to thinking: What if you thought I didn't care about health? So, I thought I'd do a little post about how to focus on health and still love yourself as you are. The two aren't mutually exclusive; in fact, they go quite well together. Because our mental / emotional health affects our body too.

Health and morality do not meet. You are not a bad person if you are struggling with something in your body, or how to balance things in your physical life. But, hey, don't we all want to have that energy to pursue the things we love? If we can do a few things to make ourselves feel healthier, why not?

Anyway, these are my little health tips. I'm not a pro at this, but these are little, happy, casual, balanced ways I look after my health:

1. Take time to prepare a healthy meal every mealtime. Yes, it's an effort, and with a busy life, it can sometimes be hard, but you'll find that if you fill yourself up with healthy foods, you're less likely to fill up on fast foods or unhealthy snacks. You can still have the snacks, because oftentimes, it's the prohibition that makes us binge more, but you'll crave them less (or less of them) when you are already full and nourished. I still snack, but the snacks don't make the bulk of my nutrition. And healthy foods don't have to be boring foods. Spend that little extra on those gorgeous berries for your breakfast cereal. Colour your plate. You're worth it. (I struggle with quite a few food intolerances and allergies. At times it annoys me as I can't eat sweets and chocolates or many processed foods anymore. My doctor said it's a good thing, and I've been thinking, really, maybe it is. 😊)

2. Keep moving. This one is so hard if you're spending your whole day at the office behind a screen. That's why I like to go for a walk on the beach most weekends. If you don't get to move as often as you want or at all in a week, don't give up. Try your next free moment. The most important thing is to find a form of exercise you enjoy. It's when we do things we hate or just endure, just in the name of health, or to look good, we can't sustain them long-term. Find something you love doing where it doesn't even feel like you're exercising, like dancing, or walking in a favourite nature spot. Have a break or two in the middle of your work day - do some stretches or walk around a bit. I like to go to the garden, look or tend to my plants, and sit in the sun. (See point 5)

3. Don't let pursuing your health become your main focus in life unless that's what you do for a living or you're on a mission to nyx chronic illness. As soon as it takes up too much of your time, you are getting out of balance and your mental, emotional, and relationship health will suffer. If you need to focus on it for a while to get things back on track, great, but don't let it become an obsession. This is something you have to be careful with food. I know I've had a tendency to get orthorexia (becoming obsessed with healthy foods) in the past. It never helped me and it made me more sick. Food should be a pleasure and a joy. We affect our nutrition oftentimes more with the thoughts we have about the food we are eating than the actual food. Studies have shown that if we feel guilty about eating something, we don't get the full nutritional benefit of the food. All food has some nutrition in it. Let's be grateful for every morsel we get.

4. Sleep. Yes, I know, it's so hard to get enough of this bugger. I'm a night owl; I relate. But even if you take a nap as soon as you get home from work, or in a quiet spot in your lunch hour, why not? Best thing is to try to get at least 7 hours of sleep a night. If you can't, try to catch up a bit on the weekend. I know they say that doesn't work, but I think it certainly helps. Try not to overcommit yourself on weekends and week nights. Another thing I did was download this app on my computer called Flux and on my phone called Twilight - they take the blue light off my screens. The blue light keeps us awake at night. If you get out into real sunshine during the day, you'll also sleep better at night. I think one of the surest ways to mess up your sleep cycle is to not get enough calories in your diet and to overexercise. If you find yourself getting up in the middle of the night to pee, you most likely are not eating enough or resting your body enough from movement (unless you're pregnant, of course). It's a sign that your metabolism is slow. A good way to check whether your metabolism is fast enough is to take your temperature first thing in the morning. I think it should be above 98.6F (37C).

5. Get outside in the sun and fresh air. We miss out on so much in our modern lifestyles. We need sunshine. We spend too much time indoors. Find something you enjoy doing outdoors and make a plan to do it at least once a week, if you can. If you're like me and can't drink dairy milk, watch your Vitamin D levels. I have to take supplements.

6. Try to avoid eating lots of processed meats. As nice as they are, they should be a treat every now and then, not the main meat that you eat. Eating less meat helps our planet and our bodies, and even more so cutting out those ones that have been processed. There are so many interesting meals you can make with just veggies or with healthier, lean meats. (But don't feel guilty if you have that ham pizza; the guilt is worse for you than that bit of ham.)

7. Watch the fats that you eat. Good fats are things like olive oil, coconut oil, butter, avocado. Try to avoid processed vegetable oils, especially fried at a high temp.

Anyway, I'm guessing you know all this already, but I hope I gave you the feeling that working toward or maintaining our health can be a self-loving thing that is not weighed down with self-loathing and shame. That is my intention. It should be fun.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Self-Love When It's Hard

So, I write a lot about loving yourself, even when it's hard, in my second book, that should be coming out in a few months. It's not always easy to love yourself, but the key is to love yourself even when you aren't being very loving toward yourself. Sounds like a contradiction, but it isn't. Let me give you an example of my own story.

I'm in the middle of perimenopause - that trying time when the body is transitioning into menopause. It's not an easy thing to go through. The symptoms it's causing make me feel really low about myself at that time of the month. I literally feel ugly and hate my looks. It doesn't help when I have a tendency already to compare my weight to others. It's something I've learned from our culture. It's sad really.

I saw a nude painting of Helen of Troy in a movie I watched a couple of weeks ago. She was supposed to be the most beautiful woman in the world at that time, and she looked a lot like me nude - full hips, rolls in the tummy area, tree-trunk thighs - you get the picture. It's really, really sad that nowadays you're pretty much unpopular and regarded as unworthy, lazy, and unhealthy if you're not slim. I could go into the health behind it, but I'm not going to now. That's a whole other post.

Hans Baldung 1545 (Not Helen of Troy)

Anyway, because being slim is regarded as beautiful and worthy, especially for women, when you're the fattest woman in the room, you feel kind of horrible, no matter how much you love yourself when you're at home, doing your thing. It's harder to love yourself when the culture screams at you at the top of its lungs continually.

So, I went to my dance group social on Monday. I shouldn't have gone because on the first day of my period, I really don't feel well physically. But I had FOMO (fear of missing out). Anyway, it was such an odd day with a lot going on and not feeling well, and I don't have a full-length mirror, so the outfit I chose wasn't a good pick. I only figured that out after the fact. I went there and danced to some of my favourite songs. It's something I love doing. But I began to feel sick and had to leave early. I pushed myself a bit hard, despite feeling sick, just to prove to people in the room that the fat girl could also dance. Not a good reason to push yourself. The next day, the first thing I saw in the morning was a video of us dancing. I looked like a blob / rock amongst elegant trees. Everyone else looked graceful and lovely and I was this round ball on the screen with spindly legs and arms sticking out. I was horrified. I was so embarrassed. I wished I had worn something slim-fitting, to make me look less huge. I began to go through scenarios in my mind - judging myself and hating on myself. It was NOT AT ALL EASY to love myself. And the hormones were pulling me down into the pit.

Image by https://pixabay.com/users/diefototipps-190751
Just as animals come in all shapes and sizes, so do we.
Should we shoot the hippo and the seal because they are fat? Just saying.

What did I do? Not much except go watch some videos from my favourite fat-positive nutritionists and tell myself that this will pass. That I will soon feel better about myself, that next time I will wear something more flattering. But then I judged myself for not loving myself enough to have to wear something that was culturally more acceptable. This morning I thought - no, I can still work hard to wear something that makes me look thinner - there's nothing un-self-loving about that. We live in a culture that rejects us for being fat. What's wrong with working as hard as I can to make it easier on myself? (I'm not talking about dieting here. Yes, you are welcome to diet, but I'm no longer dieting as that is what made me go up three dress sizes after feeling sick as anything.)

Once my hormones were no longer persecuting me the next day, I felt better about myself. I felt tender toward myself. I concentrated on self-love in my morning meditation. I felt at peace again.

Now, having written a self-love book makes me feel all the more that I should be an example of self-love and not have these wobbles. But they happen. Often. And the key here is to love myself through it - to be gentle with myself as I grow in self-love. Will I ever feel okay about living in a bigger body? I don't know. I doubt I will. I have read so much material by fat-positive activists and coaches - they all struggle. Yes, they've made strides, but they still have bad days. It's so hard when society works against you - when you get looks, when you get rejected. Yes, I believe things are starting to change. As the health-at-every-size science research makes inroads into mainline medicine, things will start to change. But there is a tide that we are working against. And maybe in this lifetime, we won't get there, but things will get better - I believe it.

Another way that I slipped in my self-love this last week was overworking and not taking time out. So many things were happening around me, and they took over. It's so hard to put yourself first and nurture yourself when life throws you one challenge after another. You feel exhausted, depleted, and you've lost touch with that inner connection of love and peace. But it's never too late to find it again. As we grow in self-love, we learn how to make that connection again and again. We learn how to spring back sooner. We become more and more aware when we fall away. We begin to develop this self-love barometer inside our souls that speaks to us when we're going the non-loving route. Yes, it doesn't happen straight away. And I doubt we'll ever have it down to mastery. That's why we need to be gentle with ourselves. Accept that sometimes we neglect ourselves in the pursuit of money, helping others, putting out fires. It's part of life. The key is to say to yourself, "This too shall pass. Well done, you are doing so well despite it all. You're getting there."

I had the most glorious weekend where I let myself drink in the things that feed my soul - reading a good book, resting, walking at the beach, watching a favourite show. When you do get that chance to unwind and put yourself first, you'll come back to that sanctuary that you've made for yourself. It will now be a familiar spot; you will crave it and know how much it helps you. You'll be renewed and things will fall into place again. You'll be more mindful of when you do get out of balance.

You are a self-loving being. You can do it. Even if you fail, pick yourself up, and get onto the love-train again.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

I've Been Getting Crafty

Okay, it was quite a while ago, but I got crafty. I enjoy water painting. It's a relaxing pastime for me. I'm not particularly talented. Or let's say I'm not aiming to sell my paintings as they're practice and experimentation. It's more like a meditation for me. I paint to relax my mind. And my arty daughter usually loves to join me any time I bring out the paints.

Being a lover of tarot and oracle cards, I decided to make a little oracle deck to go with my self-love book. So I cut out oracle-card shaped pieces of watercolour paper and painted patterns or backgrounds on them. Then I used a calligraphy pen to write the messages. The messages come from my book - I've used the affirmations at the end of each day.

I did a video showing off my cards for the first book. I have put it on Facebook as it's too large for Blogger. Here is the link to my author Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kathy.bosmanauthor

And here are some pics of a few of the cards.








You can find my book on preorder here: https://www.amazon.com/Falling-Love-Me-Days-Self-Love-ebook/dp/B07W9FJ36K




Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Excerpt from Falling in Love with Me

I can't believe my book is coming out in a few weeks. The last few weeks have been one challenge after another. Life doesn't always show sympathy and make our paths easy. But here I am - still standing.

I would love to share an excerpt with you from my self-love book, just for you to get a taste of what it offers.



This comes from Day 4 - Respect Yourself

I’ve always felt that the cornerstone of a good relationship is respect. If someone doesn’t respect you, they don’t really love you, do they?

But what does it mean to respect yourself?

This is a really hard one, but it’s so important.

Firstly, do you criticize yourself constantly? What would it be like if you did that to your partner, friend, or your child? Would they feel loved? Would they want to be around you? Not at all. Remember that you’re the only person who is with yourself 24/7, 365 days a year, all the years of your life. You’d better learn to get on.

There is nothing wrong with becoming a better person and working on your faults, but negative self-talk can be debilitating. You have to learn to celebrate all that you are and all that you’ve come through. You’re an amazing human being. You’ve accomplished so much so far in your life, or multiple lifetimes (if you so believe). You’ve overcome immense challenges and stuck it out through many trials. You’ve loved and laughed and cried. You’ve grown as a person, matured through the years. The deepest part of your being is pure love. That’s because you belong to The Universe which is also pure love. You are one and the same. The very deepest well of existence is love.

Sure, you’ve messed up. We all have. Maybe you’ve done some terrible things that have really hurt you and others. You did those things because you felt separate from love. They were a cry for help. It’s time to forgive.

If self-respect is hard for you, write a list of five things you like about yourself.


My book is available on preorder on Amazon and Smashwords here:

Amazon
Smashwords