Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Free Book on Wattpad

Hi, I hope you are all well on this beautiful day!

So, I've taken one of my old romances I wrote years ago, which was contracted by Clean Reads, and I've changed things up a bit. I received some negative reviews on the book, specially with regards to my heroine. At the time they hurt, but they also got me thinking on how I can improve the book. So, I've fixed her up and made her a much nicer person. I've smoothed out the romance and just plain, old made the book better. It is a bit shorter though.

Anyway, I've decided to put it up as a free read on Wattpad for my readers to enjoy. The first chapter is now up!

Beautiful Hearts



Lisa is petrified, but can't resist saying yes to her boss, Dan Loriet, the handsome but fierce Editor in Chief at Prominence Magazine. He wants her to pose as his fiancee for a New Years' bash at his family's. In return, she may be able to get the promotion she's dreamed of. Turns out Dan's family is the family she's always dreamed of being a part of, and he's not so bad himself, when she gets to know him beneath the strict boss persona. But Lisa has a secret Dan mustn't discover and has several of her own inner demons to conquer. Dan has always been a player. Can he settle down with one woman, no matter how much she fascinates him? They just can't be a couple, no matter how beautiful their hearts are. There is too much pitched against them.
Find it here: https://www.wattpad.com/myworks/167455941-beautiful-hearts

Monday, October 8, 2018

Book Review - Come as You Are by Emily Nagoski

Today, I'm doing something different - I'm reviewing a non-fiction book I read, just because I loved the book so much. Not as a favour to the author or upon request, or in exchange for anything. I don't have the book cover art then, but I'll post a link to where you can buy it on Amazon.

Blurb:

An essential exploration of women’s sexuality that will radically transform your sex life into one filled with confidence and joy.

After all the books that have been written about sex, all the blogs and TV shows and radio Q&As, how can it be that we all still have so many questions? The frustrating reality is that we’ve been lied to — not deliberately, it’s no one’s fault, but still. We were told the wrong story.

Come as You Are reveals the true story behind female sexuality, uncovering the little-known science of what makes us tick and, more importantly, how and why. Sex educator Dr Emily Nagoski debunks the common sexual myths that are making women (and some men!) feel inadequate between the sheets.

Underlying almost all of the questions we still have about sex is the common worry: ‘Am I normal?’ This book answers with a resounding Yes! We are all different, but we are all normal — and once we learn this, we can create for ourselves better sex and more profound pleasure than we ever thought possible.



For all those science nerds out there, this book is definitely for you. I'm NOT a science nerd, so I did struggle in some parts to read this book, although she mostly wrote it in layman's language, but still, it made my brain boggle a bit. (Maybe that's easy, lol.)

Anyway, I truly feel that this book is an essential read for every woman out there (and also for their partners). It's for straight or gay women, although she mentioned that she hasn't done enough research to help transgender people.

There is so much out there in the media, which is largely accepted as true about women's sexuality, which is a far cry from scientific fact. Yes, the science is still evolving and growing, and they haven't discovered everything, but it's high time that people got wind of how we work as females.

I'm going to summarise what she covers, in brief, as I don't want this review to be a spoiler, but I do want people to get an idea of the powerful message she conveys:

1. We are all different down there physically and unless our body causes us discomfort or pain, we are normal and beautiful! (Porn stars are just that - porn stars, and oftentimes photo-shopped or changed.)

2. Physiological response is not the same as desire. Women need desire for true pleasure. Desire goes a lot deeper than just a physical thing.

2. Just like our physical parts are all arranged differently, so our way of functioning as a sexual being is unique. Not all women get aroused a certain way, orgasm the same way, and find the same things pleasurable. (Yes, I've written a post about this before and this book only confirmed my concerns about how women are portrayed sexually in media - 18+ movies, magazines, and some erotic fiction.) These images we have in our heads about how we should behave don't always measure up to our own realities, and when they don't, we start to believe that there is something deeply wrong with us. And that belief is the biggest downfall in our sexual pleasure.

3. Women are not the same as men. Yes, physiologically, we actually are fairly similar, if you look at the internal biology of our parts, but, as women, and some men, we are deeply affected by external matters when it comes to how ready and seamless we are in times of intimacy. We have brakes and they're all connected to our brains. And it's quite complex what causes those brakes. She goes into it in great detail and it is an enlightening read. Unfortunately, women are expected to act like men sexually and they are, once again, portrayed like that in magazines, movies, porn, etc. They are expected to be in the mood all the time, to have spontaneous desire (i.e. non-responsive desire) like men.

4. We don't actually have a sex drive. We have a sex desire. A drive is something that pushes us onto survival. We can survive as individuals without sex, but not as a species. That gives no excuse for sexual assault or the non-consensual stuff. NO ONE has any excuse to say that they need sex and that they had to have someone for their own needs to be met!

5. She goes into how to eliminate or work through the brakes that hold us back. Great advice. And a lot to chew on.

I don't know if I've conveyed her thoughts properly as I'm not very scientific, so I really think you should read it yourself, if you're interested.



Added thoughts on the book as copied from my Goodreads review:

Thank you so much, Emily. You have healed my broken heart!

This amazing scientific book (which did go over my head a little bit at times) showed me that I'm perfectly normal and wonderful just as I am. I understood myself for the first time. I'm not broken; I'm not "not enough". I just have sensitive brakes.

This book empowers women. There is so much in the media - magazines, TV, porn, romantic fiction, that gives false messages on women's sexuality. Everyone is buying into these lies (based on ignorance and thinking women are the same as men). It's making women believe they are messed up sexually, and making men less than loving and patient toward their partners. The book goes into almost every dynamic of issues (which are actually caused more by stress, low self-esteem and a misunderstanding of our brakes and accelerators than anything else) - you need to read it to understand.

I feel like Emily is a strong sister who has taken my hand and raised it up to the sky and shouted to the world that "She is enough".


Amazon link: https://www.amazon.com/Come-You-Are-surprising-transform-ebook/dp/B00V58R0ZE




Friday, October 5, 2018

Why I Said "Thank You" and How It Helped

A few weeks ago, I was listening to a spiritual teaching by Matt Khan, as recommended by a friend who did Reiki on me. I don't resonate with everything he teaches, but I was challenged and stirred by a strong message he gave about our soul's purpose and the pain we face in our lives.

For quite some time now, I've realised that my painful marriage breakup and divorce was something that my soul had chosen to go through before I came to this planet at this time. I don't know why, whether it was a karma thing that I had to learn (karma, I believe, is to learn self-forgiveness), but more so, I believe it was to grow me as a soul.

My husband of twenty years broke it to me in July 2016 that he didn't love me anymore. It was a total shock and devastation. It's been over two years now since that dark day, and the past few months I've been partly annoyed with myself for not being able to move on and get over the grief. Yes, sure I accepted myself, but I was kind of sick of the negative emotions. Although they'd eased quite a bit, they were still hurting me. All the memories - good and bad - would roll around inside me. It wasn't a constant, all-day thing, like in the beginning, but then something would happen to make it come out - like him talking to me, seeing an old photo, or me hearing about the other woman. Several messages from Spirit (like pulling cards), had relayed to me that it was time to let go of the heartbreak. I really wanted to, but how?

Then Matt Khan told his YouTube listeners to say, "Thank you" to the very people who cause us the most pain. As hard as it was, I said "Thank you" to my ex, and I meant it. I knew that what he'd done was for the growth of my soul. I trusted that the emotions would follow that decision to thank him. And to thank The Universe and my soul for choosing this path.

My Reiki friend's session may have helped too as she felt a blockage in my sacral (relationship/sexual/creative) chakra. She told me to wear orange. 😀 Interestingly enough, she said my heart chakra was very clear and open. Matt Khan said that grief and loss breaks open our hearts.

Anyway, my ex has recently gone on a trip to Australia to visit the woman he left me for. Normally, just the knowledge of it would get me into all the negative thought patterns - why am I not good enough but she is, why did he commit to loving me forever and break that promise, and many more. And the emotions would be bad! But something has happened. It's like I suddenly realised, I get to have the juicy goodness of soul growth. I have grown so much the last two years, spiritually, mentally, and practically. I've learned how to be independent, I've learned self-love, I've learned about codependency and unhealthy relationships. I get to be at peace and no longer in a codependent relationship. I get to be free to love myself, without anything holding me back. I get to follow my own path without having to hide it. I don't have to work like a hamster on a wheel to please him for fear of losing him, like I had been for years.

As spring has arrived in my country, I also feel like it's a period of fullness and new growth for me. I'm now finally seeing the new shoots of growth and freedom that I've been planting after two years of working on my healing and self-love and forgiveness. I've grown in unconditional love and non-judgement. Sure, I'm not totally there yet, but there are new, lush shoots of growth. There's a shrub / tree - I'm not sure what - in my tiny front yard that's called the Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow. Last year, spring, just after we'd moved here, the tree had one or two flowers. The bush has the most beautiful flowers, in shades of white, lilac, and purple, with a sweet, feminine scent. I wondered why it wasn't covered in them, as I knew the bush to be. Two new little bushes have also sprouted up in the garden! Anyway, this year, it's full of life. It's as though it's a message to me of the life that has bloomed in my soul the last year. I'm so grateful.

I'm glad I said "Thank you." Sure, I still get negative thoughts, but they don't pierce me as strongly. I get to create new happy memories with my kids, my pets, and my new path in life. I live back in my home town where I get to see my family I've been away from for so long. I get to do fun things like go to dance class, or follow the spiritual path that makes me happy.

Grief is real, and many of us go through things on this planet that are very painful. But I believe that our souls have chosen to go through things to grow. At the time, it's so painful that we don't see the message and the lesson, but over time, it begins to unfold, if we are willing to surrender and trust. When we say "Thank you" to our greatest pain and pain-causers, something happens that propels us forward into exponential growth.

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Card Spread for Creativity Block

I love using tarot and oracle cards to tap into my intuition and the divine.

I'm still struggling with writer's block and it's so frustrating. So, I designed this spread to help me. I don't know if it's going to solve the problem. I actually think stepping away from writing may be the answer for me right now. I plan to get stuck into some other creative stuff. What, I'm not sure. Maybe I'll try Inktober this year (check this out: https://inktober.com/rules/)

Anyway, I thought maybe one of you may benefit from my spread. You can even use playing cards if you don't have tarot. Or an oracle card deck could work too. There is such a gorgeous selection out there to choose from.


Friday, September 28, 2018

Re: Free Short Story on Wattpad

I have put up my paranormal romance short story on Wattpad. If you would like a free read, especially for Halloween, then help yourself.



Here is a blurb:

Susanna's dreamed of visiting Tuscany, Italy, her whole life, but she's not so enthusiastic when her travel agent boss sends her on a tour to the province at the last minute, just before Halloween. When Susanna joins Ghostly Tours, she can't ignore the handsome blue-eyed American, Shane. Nor can she resist engaging with the blue-eyed ghost who visits her and pampers her at night, a ghost who looks too much like the man she sees during the day. Soon she realizes that Shane is more than a stranger, but rather someone she's known for a long time, way longer than her current lifetime. The two share a history steeped in hurt; this very history keeps Shane from embracing his humanity and stops Susanna from finding her true purpose in life. Are they destined to destroy each other's destinies? Or does the love they share transcend the past?

Here is the link: https://www.wattpad.com/myworks/162103224-ghostly-tours


Tuesday, September 11, 2018

When Self-Love Gets Tested


So, I've started my next self-love book. It's about deepening your self-love, especially when it gets tested.

My self-love has been tested this week, specifically in the area of body acceptance. Phew, this one is hard for me to work on. Most of my life, growing up, I was skinny. I was blessed with a super-efficient metabolism. I could eat whatever I liked and not put on an ounce of weight. Then I had three kids. I still managed to lose most of my baby weight after breastfeeding them each for a year, and running after active toddlers, but when I hit my late thirties, I developed thyroid problems. I was no longer what society would deem attractive i.e. thin. My metabolism hit a big snag. I managed to go on thyroid hormones, which thankfully made me feel a lot healthier, but it didn't make the weight drop off.

Society had told me my whole life that if I wanted to be attractive to my husband, I had to be thin. And if I wanted to just plain-old be attractive and considered worthy of respect from society, I had to have a certain figure. So, when I heard about the low-carb paleo diet, I was hooked. I got brainwashed into thinking this was the magic pill. Yes, I did lose weight. I looked "acceptable" again, but it came at a great cost. My thyroid levels dipped to an all-time low and I developed several other health problems. After two and a half years of trying to make this "magic pill" diet work, and after I stumbled upon some material against low-carb dieting, I broke the diet. I felt so much better, almost immediately. It took a while for the deeper problems to heal. One of them never healed - I developed allergies while on the diet. I still struggle with them today.

After I broke the diet and started eating enough again to feel healthy and energetic, I put back all my weight and a lot more - the perils of compromising your metabolism on an unhealthy diet. My husband at the time started criticising me for how I looked. I allowed his words to get to me. (I wasn't aware of self-love at the time.) I developed deep insecurities about myself as a person, but...at the same time I read a lot of material by Summer Innanen and other advocates for health at every size. I researched on health and the stigma that's attached to weight, and how it's more a social problem than anything else. That there is very little proof that being overweight is necessarily the cause of illnesses. Yes, it's often caused by illnesses, but inherently, in itself, is not always harmful. (It's more harmful to hate yourself and compromise your health.) I began to learn the importance of accepting myself as I am. How hating on my body was not going to help me be happy, healthy, and peaceful as a person. I read up on how dieting actually makes us fat. Every time we diet, we may lose weight temporarily, but then we can't maintain it long-term, so we put the weight back on. And many times, more. Any time we restrict calories, we compromise many systems in our bodies. I'd rather not live like that. I can't afford to because of my particular health dynamic.

So, I'm not skinny anymore. I'm actually overweight. It's hard to put your photo on a dating profile. It's hard to feel good about yourself sometimes.

Yesterday, I went to dance class and one of the ladies there was videoing us practising a dance. I asked her to send me a copy so I could show my kids that I am actually dancing every Monday night and not going on a mysterious date. I watched the video and my heart sank. I was so huge compared to the other slim ladies in the class. I felt like an elephant. It was so hard to comprehend.

I realised that I'm having a self-love test here. If I can't appreciate and love the body vessel that I've got for my time on this earth, then I'm in serious trouble. I'm so grateful for my body and all it can do. It gives me the strength to do those dance steps, which are such fun. Sure, I don't look amazing doing them, but I'm growing as a person, by learning these difficult steps. I also know that women have hormones, and at a particular time of month, the hormones go really low and during that time, they really don't like the way they look. Any self-dislike gets magnified tenfold. So, I'm not letting this experience, that my hormones gives me, plunge me into a depression and another diet cycle. I mean, today, I even considered going on a diet again. I thought, "How will I find a man looking like this? People must find me disgusting." But those thoughts are from the ego mind - the lower mind, which comes from the messages we've been given all our lives, that our worth as women is attached to how thin we are.

So, instead of hating on myself, I'm going to slay this dragon and love on myself even more. I'm going to be kind to my body and nourish it and give it the rest it needs. I'm going to love the wiggly bits because they're what makes up me. I'm going to choose to believe that I am beautiful, and wait for the hormonal dip to pass before I take any of my thoughts seriously. Self-depreciation be gone.

So, how do we love ourselves when we don't fit into society's norms?

1. Eat, sleep, have fun.

2. Be the biggest advocate for your inner child. Yes, your inner child was told that if you became fat, or if you were already fat, it was serious and you would be ugly and useless. That's a lie. Being fat does not mean being unfit, incapable, stupid, or unhealthy. There are many thin people who struggle with feelings of lack of self-worth. I struggled with it all those years when I was thin. Being thin did not help me feel better about myself. I was so afraid of getting fat. It petrified me. Give your inner child a good hug and tell her that she is lovable just the way she is and that if someone insults her, they WILL pay the consequences. (You can certainly stand up for yourself in your mind. Not a soul can stop you from doing that.)

3. Buy yourself that outfit you'd love (if your bank balance allows) even if it's not slimming, just because you damn-well love the colours, or the cut, or the stripes.

4. Accept compliments. When people say your Facebook profile pic looks good, believe them. When they say, "You look lovely today," believe them. And thank them without starting the long description of your faults.

5. Accept that sometimes you won't like what you see in the mirror. We all have those days. But choose to not let that make you come down hard on yourself. Keep up your self-care, and show compassion to yourself. Trust that those feelings will pass.

6. Look into the mirror and say something like, "You're amazing, you're beautiful, and you're so unique."

7. Think of all the things your body can do and thank it.

8. Think of all the wonderful things in your life that you do and are. Realise that how you look is such a small part of your life experiences. There is so much fun to be had, no matter what size you are.

Any other suggestions? I'd love to hear them.








Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Confession Time and Talking to Trees

So, as I mentioned in my previous blog post, I wrote erotic romance under a pseudonym. Well, for some strange reason, the blog I set up on Blogger for my alter-ego, disappeared. I couldn't access the Blogger for it and all my blog posts, no matter how much I tried. Very frustrating!

Anyway, I feel I owe it to the publisher of my erotic romance books (Decadent Publishing) to keep promoting my books, and seeing I don't have time to promote two different personas and man two different blogs, I'm taking the plunge and letting my readers know about my other books here. For sweet romance readers, you don't have to read further.

Anyway, I've been thinking quite a bit about one of the books I wrote under Vicki Ballante. It holds a very special place in my heart and to this day, is still one of my favourite books that I've ever written. In fact, I still get chills when I think about the story. And I also think it's one of my better works.

A few months ago, I read a really enchanting book called Secrets from the Lives of Trees https://www.amazon.com/Secrets-Lives-Trees-Jeffrey-Goelitz/dp/1879052040. I found this book secondhand at a market and I couldn't resist buying it; although for a secondhand book, it wasn't all that cheap. Anyway, I eventually bought it and I was not at all disappointed.

The book is written by a man who developed a relationship with trees where he spoke to them telepathically. Just a few weeks before that, I'd felt a connection to the trees in my small garden. I cannot explain it, but I felt something with them. Now, don't think I'm strange. I'm quite a spiritual / telepathic person and I do pick up things very keenly.

Anyway, it reminded me of my story called The Century Sage. I hope you will read my beautiful story about a woman who can talk to trees. Trees are the peacemakers of our planet. In the Secrets from the Lives of Trees, the author stresses how they are vital for our well-being and to help us overcome stress.

Blurb:

Lina is a tree sage, a gifted person who heals trees, but her duty binds her to one place for her whole life until she marries. Tree sages must marry and birth a daughter by twenty-eight, even if true love is out of the picture. When hot rally winner Brad meets her, he is drawn to her mystical powers. Lina can’t resist the man who represents something she shouldn’t go for, but neither can she turn away his sexy touch. Brad offers to marry her and take her on a worldwide rally tour. She can fulfill her dream of traveling, and he provides a way to meet the demands of her breed, but will that be enough? What about love?

When Lina settles in Paris, loneliness and unfulfilled expectations threaten to pull the shaky relationship apart. Could the barriers between them be caused by an evil greater than they imagined? Soon, they will have to fight for Paris, but will they survive?

Buy Links:

Amazon US
Bookstrand