Hello World…Again, Part Two

For me, 2016 was a journey.

Down.

2017 is seeing me rise.

Up.

That’s my story in a nutshell.


Here’s the longer version of that story…

In 2016:

  • I let fear take over my life and, fully operating in lack/limitation mode, made some poor decisions
  • I tried to be something I am not and hid my truth for fear that it would hinder me
  • I was in constant chronic pain
  • I stopped leading the active lifestyle I’d led my entire adult life
  • Because of the poor decisions I’d made, I suffered from anxiety that was so bad I was afraid to fall asleep each night
  • I let anger toward, and hatred of, an individual take root and fester in my heart and mind
  • I became severely depressed; my mind went into what was the darkest place it had ever gone
  • I started taking prescription anti-depressants (I hate drugs)
  • I gained 15 pounds
  • I let fear take over my life and, fully operating in lack/limitation mode, made some poor decisions

Notice the last item is identical to the first item. That’s because the cycle repeated. Needless to say, I didn’t finish my next books.

via GIPHY

There was some progress in business and other exterior pursuits, but when it comes to what really matters, who I AM, I lost myself in 2016.

But I didn’t realize it until the last week of the year. Specifically, the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day.

As a result… I started to rise

In 2017:

  • I’ve restarted my yoga practice
  • I’ve reprogrammed my brain to tell me something positive as soon my eyes in the morning
  • I’ve restarted my daily meditation practice
  • I workout 5 times a week
  • I speak, walk, and live my truth
  • For the first time (in a loooong time), I’m on a diet
  • I’ve restarted my yoga practice

Notice the last item is identical to the first item. That’s because the cycle repeats. Needless to say, I am feeling so much better.

In addition…

  • I no longer require prescription anti-depressants
  • I’m actively stating my truth to whomever I come into contact with (how liberating!)
  • Whenever anger/hatred tries to raise its head, I lovingly obliterate it

I’ve discovered that speaking my truth cannot destroy me. It just makes me stronger.

via GIPHY

2017, so far, has been an amazing year. The winter is over, Spring is here, and my goal is to bring the heat (ok, I couldn’t resist the Game of Thrones dragon reference).

 

via GIPHY

 

Ramping: How I Prepare for My Extended Juice Cleanses

Ramping: How I Prepare for My Extended Juice Cleanses

Note: This is a method I perfected for myself since starting juice cleansing in the mid-90s. It is due in part to Queen Afua, whose book Heal Thyself was my gateway into detoxing during a time when cleansing was still viewed, in this country, as whacky. My method may not work for you; everybody’s body is different. As always listen to your body temple; it can tell you a lot about what it needs!

Juice Cleanse

Tomorrow will be the first day of my 2015 Winter Cleanse. I do this detox/cleanse every year (along with a Summer Cleanse) however this year’s been a little different. Usually I start in February and am done by this time of year, but Snowmeggedon 2015 was brutal. My entire being was in serious hibernation mode until March and I steadily ate comfort foods.

Ramping up

In light of the amount of time spent snowed in and shoveling out, I gave myself a break this year and allotted more time to ramping up than ever before. Usually it takes 3-4 days to ramp up to a 100% juice cleanse, but this year I’ve been ramping for the past two weeks. What does ramping mean? Simply it’s the method of removing particular food groups from your diet in order to facilitate an easier transition into juicing. For example, if you eat steak on Monday and decide you’ll start a juice cleanse on Tuesday, odds are you have less of a chance at success when your body starts craving meat. But if you’d removed meat from your diet on Tuesday and went without it completely before commencing to juice Friday, there’s a much higher likelihood that the cravings for meat will have a weaker hold on you.

Since I juice cleanse for a minimum of 7 consecutive days, it’s important to me that my body is primed for the long haul. Juice cleansing is a marathon, and ramping up properly is a way of stacking the odds in my favor. The first things I remove are animal products. I don‘t eat red meat (haven’t for over 22 years) or many dairy products (with the exception of yogurt, which I’ll explain in a minute), so the first thing I removed from my diet was poultry and fish. After a couple of days, I started removing my real weakness—carbs. I cut down on cooked grains, whole grain crackers and breads over the course of 5 days. This method almost guarantees zero cravings and helps me go as long as I like. My longest 100% juice cleanse, so far, was 15 days.

Balancing out

As I remove various cooked foods from my diet I increase raw foods—both fruits and vegetables. I jump to 50% raw immediately, and from there ramp down the cooked/baked foods while increasing the amount of raw. Around now is the time I introduce the juicing by having a serving of juice at whatever time’s convenient, usually at night. This is also a good time to re-compile my juice recipes and try some newbies. Once I hit 100% raw, I either start juicing 100% the next day or ramp down raw for a day or two while increasing juice exponentially, depending on what my body tells me its comfortable with.

This year, I’ve got a new goal–weight loss. For the 15 years I’ve been doing this bi-annual cleanse (I started 20 years ago, but stopped during pregnancy and slacked off during early momhood), I’ve always sought to cleanse and detox above anything while the (inevitable) weight loss was icing on the cake. Now, in the wake of the Great Hibernation and what seemed like never-ending eating, it’s like getting rid of the Freshman Fifteen all over again. My goal is to lose at least 10 pounds, and so far I’ve lost four pounds on ramping alone.

Why yogurt?

As mentioned above, the one dairy product I keep in my diet is yogurt. I don’t drink cow’s milk and rarely eat cheese (although I LOVE it), because of its effect on me. Yes, I am lactose intolerant, but according to much research so is the majority of the human race.

“Look, are you a suckling calf? Name one creature on earth that uses milk after it’s weaned. Man’s the only one. And man’s the only one who lives out only half his life span. A cow has four stomachs. You don’t. You can’t handle whole milk.” – Jack Lalane

Yogurt, on the other hand, while still a dairy product doesn’t wreak havoc on the human digestive system due to the active cultures it possesses.

“A benefit of yogurt…not present in most milks is the presence of probiotics. Probiotics are healthy bacteria that help maintain digestive and immune health.” – Larissa Gedney

Yogurt is honestly one of the best things I can put in my body. Plus it fits in with my juicing efforts—I love making yogurt-based smoothies during my Summer Cleanse. So yummy!

But how does it feel?

Juice cleansing is not about starving your body—far from it—it’s about feeding your body all the vitamins and nutrients it needs while giving it a break from digesting solid food. And, just in case you’re wondering, I still work out while ramping and cleansing. To support that, not only do I ramp up my protein intake with yogurt-based smoothies, I also add soy-based protein powders, green supplements such as spirulina, wheatgrass and more. That being said I keep my cardio workouts to 30 minutes—5 minutes stretch on either end of 20 minutes sustained cardio. With that ratio of exercise and calories I lose pounds, detox and stay energized!

It feels fabulous!

Over the next few days, I’ll give more details about my cleanse, including recipes and cleansing techniques. Stay tuned!

 

Heart To Heart Top 10 Video Playlist

Heart To Heart Top 10 Video Playlist

Heart To Heart Top 10 Video Playlist

Heart To Heart Top 10 Video Playlist

Like the Top 10 Audio list, this video list offers the top songs from the Heart To Heart Official Playlist, the sixty songs I played religiously over the roughly year and a half that it took to write and edit (and edit, and edit) Heart To Heart. There are also a few other songs from the official list that are thrown in here, just for fun.

Unfortunately, not every song has an official video, some are simply fan-made such as the Dark Shadows tune, “Go All The Way,” which was never officially released.

Artists on this video list include Lorde, Ellie Goulding, Santigold, Icona Pop, Florence + the Machine, and more.

Also check out the Official Blood To Blood Playlist so see what I listened to while writing the first book in the Angelica Brown Series, Blood To Blood.

Blood To Blood: Second Edition

Blood To Blood: Second Edition – It’s here!

The second edition of Blood To Blood is now available for sale! Look for new cover art and a more compact size (5.5″ x 8.5″ in the paperback format).

The new edition, released March 18 (today) features a hot new cover. You’ll see a blood-filled wineglass in the process of shattering. Yum… Check it out:

Blood To Blood: Second Edition

Blood To Blood: Second Edition

This is a huge change from the original cover which featured the shadowy silhouette of a singer holding a microphone and a lot of red. I’ll post it down below so you can compare.

Blood To Blood: First Edition

Blood To Blood: First Edition

Besides the new cover art and paperback size, there is also a slight title change. The subtitle “Book One in the Angelica Brown Series” has been added to differentiate it from the upcoming sequel Heart To Heart (Book Two).

For all you who are interested, there are still autographed first edition paperbacks available here. You can also order an autographed second edition paperback as well.

The first edition is officially out of print as of the date of this post, while the second edition is available pretty much everywhere. Ask for it at your local Barnes & Nobles, that is if it’s still open. If you’re looking for it in your local indie bookstore, it’s available for wholesale ordering through Baker & Taylor and Ingram.

Thanks to all my fabulous friends and book-loving colleagues who helped me zero in on the best cover art! I love the new design and hope you do, too.

Goodbye first edition! Hello upcoming sequel!

Blood To Blood: Second Edition

 

 

Current Playlist: Top 3 Albums March 2014

Current Playlist: Top 3 Albums March 2014

Lorde

Lorde (Photo credit: GabboT)

 

Current playlist: Top 3 Albums May 2013

Current playlist: Top 3 Albums March 2014 – Adele – 21

 

It’s been a while since I posted a current playlist, but it’s not because I haven’t been listening to music. I’ve been so consumed with putting the finishing touches on my next books, I haven’t made any time.

Heart to Heart (the sequel to Blood To Blood) has been most prominent as it’s currently (still!) going through editing. There is an end in sight though, and soon the book will be available. In the meantime, the artists I’ve been listening to the most are Lorde, Ed Sheeran, and Adele.

As you can see from the Top 3 list, the tone of the HTH playlist is somewhat subdued. But things get a little more lively with the addition of the artists below.

Additional artists in current rotation:

Hole
Santigold
M.I.A.
Skunk Anansie
Muse
Van Cliburn
Beethoven
Daft Punk

English: M.I.A. performing at Outside Lands 2009

English: M.I.A. performing at Outside Lands 2009 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I promise I’ll have a playlist for April. In the meantime, you can always visit me on Twitter to see what I’m listening to at any given time.

 

Current Playlist: Top 3 Albums March 2014

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tentacles Cover Reveal

tentacles Cover Reveal

Here it is! I know some of you ladies have been waiting for more Sawyer Creed. Well here he is! But just remember, in tentacles he is only sixteen…

tentacles Cover Reveal

tentacles Cover Reveal

Summary: Sixteen-year-old Sawyer Creed’s invisible, yet undeniably real, tentacles have seemingly killed every family member who ever hurt his mom– including his alcoholic dad.

Now on mom’s wedding day, Sawyer’s uncontrollable ability puts his family in imminent danger. When the tentacles stretch purposefully toward mom and her new husband, the first guy who’s treated her well, Sawyer, realizing that he’s on a path to destroy the ones he loves, vows to take charge of his destiny by  making mom tell him the truth about why he’s different.

The tentacles seem to do his subconscious bidding when he’s angry or scared. Sawyer suspects it is a family legacy, a birthright mom denies. There is only one person who has the answers, one person who can help Sawyer have some semblance of a normal life; and that person, his grandmother and the matriarch of the Creed family, is also the person mom has hidden him from all of his life. tentacles is a short story prequel to the novel Blood To Blood.

As I posted earlier, I’m thrilled about this short story and it is my hope that it will hold everyone over until the next book is released.

Readers of Blood To Blood will remember Sawyer: the mysterious, brooding producer Angel Brown vows to hate. tentacles is a family drama which takes us back in time, before Sawyer meets Angel, to a turning point in his life.

As of tomorrow, February 19,  tentacles will be available exclusively on Kindle, but soon you’ll be able to download the e-version on other platforms.

tentacles

Blood To Blood: Official Release

Blood To Blood: Official Release

Blood To Blood: Official Release

Blood To Blood: Official Release

Today is the official release date for Blood To Blood, and I am so grateful for all the wonderful feedback my debut novel has received over the past few months! Here’s the official press release.

It’s exciting to see your “baby” go out into the world. There’s a sense of liberation and quite frankly relief. The best feeling is knowing that there are other babies close behind waiting to get there turn. Be on the lookout for the sequel as well as more stuff about Sawyer Creed and your favorite blood donor, Justin McCarthy.

Ok, back to the writing desk.

Purchase:[mantra-button-color url=”https://www.createspace.com/4012299″ color=”#47AFFF”]B2B in Paperback[/mantra-button-color] |[mantra-button-color url=”http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B008ONWZ58/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B008ONWZ58&linkCode=as2&tag=wwwrapaboutco-20″ color=”#47AFFF”]B2B on Kindle[/mantra-button-color]

Summary: Enter the world of Bostonian teen Angelika Brown: budding pop star and descendant of an immortal race of sun-loving blood drinkers known as Shimshana (the vampire prototype).

Defying her parents’ traditions of higher education (and secrecy), Angel plans to ditch high school to be a singer. She’s got an amazing voice, but she’s also maturing into a full-grown Shimshana complete with fearsome power and insatiable bloodlust. What’s worse, her soaring vocals are now capable of destroying everything, and everyone, within earshot; including her girl group, their mysterious producer and Angel’s hunky new blood donor. To top it off, she must prove her worthiness to live by passing the tests in her Mahá–the ancient, mandatory coming-out-party for new-born immortals.

Will Angel survive her Mahá and quickly learn to control her new abilities? Or will her killer instincts bring her promising career, and her life, to an end?

Read reviews and interviews for Blood To Blood.

Blood To Blood: Official Release

Weekly Word: Perseverance

Today’s weekly word: Perseverance

There will come a time when you think everything is finished. That will be the beginning.- Louis L’Amour

This quote can apply to a lot of things in life but it really resonated with me when I was going through the editing process for Blood To Blood.

Contrary to what some people think, there are self-published authors who actually spend much time and money in the editing process, as all writers should. It took me 3 months to write the first draft and 2 years to get it right.

But after all the beta-reads, re-writing and critiques the part that really got me was the copy-editing. You get to the point where, finally, you’re hiring a copy-editor and there’s actually an end in sight. Or so you think. The process took about a month and a half.

But eventually, once I’d read the manuscript 3 more times after the final, final, final submission from my fabulous copy editor, I did get to the point where I, with butterflies in my stomached, realized there was no more editing to do.

Or so I thought…

Yep, as I was reading the book out loud to my 8 year-old, we came across an instance of the word “the” which should have been “then.”

It just goes to show you, no matter how far you think you’ve come, there’s always some more to go. I’m grateful for making it through that journey! How about you? Any tales of perseverance to share?

Weekly word: Perseverance

Current Playlist

My current playlist

To answer the question of what’s on my current playlist, I’m listing the most prominent artists on my daily rotation. This list changes as my mood changes and I think you might be surprised at what’s on it today.

These tunes are getting ridiculous play regardless of whether they’re connected to a scene, or character, or not. Many of these songs have a direct relationship to what I’m writing, some of them have no connection whatsoever–at least none that I can see right now. Sometimes, I’ll have music on rotation for no apparent reason until one day it either hits me as to why it’s on the list, or it just starts making sense. Sometimes the characters choose the song(s) and I have little to do with it.

For the record I’m currently writing two pieces: a short story and the follow-up to Blood To Blood.

Current playlist: Santigold

Current playlist: Santigold

Current playlist: The Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Current playlist: The Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Current playlist: Green Day

Current playlist: Green Day

Artists in current rotation

Santigold
The Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Green Day

Adele
Andy Gibb
Muse (of course)

Cee-lo Green
Kylie Minogue
Arcade Fire

Blondie
Alabama Shakes
Class Actress