Monday, October 27, 2014


I’m worn out. Physically, mentally and emotionally.

I know, I’m no different from anyone else and we are all exhausted. We strive to do a million things and we convince ourselves we need to do a million things well. I think our culture prides itself on how exhausted we can be. It’s a competition, enabled by social media, judged by all the other people around you and awarded nothing.

“You can’t possibly understand how I feel. I was up at six this morning doing X.”
“Well, I was up at five doing Y. Oh, and my kids are forcing me to do Z.”
“You poor thing. My husband didn’t do Q, so now I have to do it.”
“I hear ya. Mine didn’t do R, and complained when I reminded him about it.”

And so on and so on and so on.

I’m guilty of it and somehow, no matter how many times I tell myself I’m not going to overbook, overschedule, or overcommit, I do. And I’m not even talking about my kids.

In fact, I wonder what I’m teaching them. When they tell me they studied and I wonder, well, did you study enough? When they tell me they cleaned and I wonder, is it clean enough? When they tell me they tried and I wonder, did you try hard enough?

Maybe their version of enough is actually enough. Maybe the effort doesn’t have to be the most, the best, the hardest, and it quite probably doesn’t have to equal mine. Maybe they just need to be able to look themselves in the eye and know that they are good enough.

We complain that people don’t know how to be still. We urge people to appreciate their surroundings. But does anyone actually do that? When is the last time you sat and read a book because you wanted to, or looked out the window because it was pretty? And if you did do that, was there a nagging in the back of your brain reminding you about everything you should be doing instead?

Who decided that was the goal?

Because there has to be a goal. We’ve trained ourselves to reach for the goal. But somewhere along the way, the goal has been moved so far away as to almost be unattainable. And the goal has grown, like the monster under the bed, until it’s no longer some desirable thing. It’s scary and stressful and quite possibly more effort than it’s worth.

I think it’s time to redefine that goal. I think our “best” needs to be “enough.” I think the one-upping in the “how tired are you?” has to end. I think we need to redirect our pride so that we are proud of actual accomplishments, no matter how small.

And perhaps, if we need public accolades, we’re doing it wrong.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Celebrating Sukkot (Soon to be Renamed, "The Festival of Whining")

So, my family and I are in the middle of celebrating Sukkot, a Jewish harvest festival, similar to Thanksgiving. It’s my very favorite holiday of the whole year, because it’s the only holiday that we celebrate on our own, with traditions we’ve developed for ourselves. I love celebrating holidays with my parents, in-laws and extended family, but there is something special about creating traditions on your own.

However, after this year, I may have to rethink the order of my favorite holidays.

One of the things you do on Sukkot is to build a sukkah, a three-sided hut, and eat at least one meal in it during the seven-day holiday. Seven years ago (remember this number), my daughter wrote an essay in Temple about why she wanted a sukkah, and as a result of that essay (or quite possibly because she was the only entry), she won a sukkah for our family. Since then, we’ve built it on our deck every single year.

Sukkot falls in the autumn. It’s usually warm the day we build it, and gets progressively colder as the holiday goes on. The day we got ready to build the sukkah, my younger daughter complained it was freezing and looked like this:

It wasn’t freezing. It was sixty something degrees.

“I don’t like Sukkot because I have to eat outside in the cold,” she complained. Considering that we make it usually one or two dinners during the seven-day holiday, this doesn’t seem like a legitimate complaint, even for me, who is ALWAYS cold.

Once you build the sukkah, you are supposed to decorate it. Every year, I take the girls’ artwork that they no longer want (again, remember this part) and from the garbage pile (having saved pieces they like and that my husband and I like), I pull out any harvest pictures to decorate the sukkah the following year. Remember how I said we’ve built a sukkah for seven years? Well, each year we have different pictures hanging—when you build a three-sided hut outside and decorate with paper drawings and paintings, the drawings and paintings don’t last.

So this year, I grabbed the latest pile of paintings and put them up. The girls were too busy with homework to help, and my husband was away on business.  I decorated and prepared for us to eat our dinner in there that night.

“Why did you put these pictures up?” my oldest cried. “They’re going to get destroyed! How could you do this?”
“I do this every year. And these are paintings you didn’t want to save and gave me permission to hang in the sukkah.”
“No I didn’t.”
“Yes you did.”

We’ve eaten in the sukkah twice so far. This year, we even bought a lulav and etrog (a branch and a lemon-type fruit that is symbolic and that you wave as you recite a prayer). They haven’t come up with a complaint for that…yet.

Happy fall, everyone!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Welcome to Donna Steele

Donna Steele is another of my fellow Rebel authors with a new release this month.

Blurb: Civilization is gone and Meg Adams is in charge, whether she wants to be or not. It’s no longer desirable or even safe to stay at the CDC that Amanda and David are gone, so getting her people away is her top priority. At least getting away from the Powers-That-Be might give them a chance. But what about Jim, is he one of Us or Them?

Jim Stephens has forced his way in. Yes, he’s attracted to Meg but he also values his own life enough to want to get away from the new regime that seems to be forming. And this rag-tag group that’s decided to make their escape could use him.

Excerpt:       Meg looked away from Jim. He’d done the right thing, bringing this man inside. Yes, it would be a little more crowded, if he lived, but most of them had rallied round to do what they could.
      Meg removed the man’s boots to inspect his toes. Whoever he was, he’d done a good job of protecting himself from the elements. He looked hungry and exhausted but he’d had the sense to wrap his feet and hands. He knew something about frostbite at least.
      Thank goodness they’d found him when they had. After wrapping a warmed blanket around his feet and lower legs, Meg made her way over to Jim.
      “Was he alone?”
      “As far as we could tell. Vic and I need to check it out, but getting him inside was the top priority.”
      She nodded. “Is it safe to check?”
      “Safer than not checking. Don’t worry. Vic and I are both armed. We won’t be long.”
      He must have seen the worry in her eyes, because he pulled her against him and kissed her. They didn’t do that too often in public. There weren’t a lot of couples and living together like this could lead to jealousy.
      She watched him nod to Vic and they slipped outside with no fanfare. Meg turned back to the unconscious man.
      Lorene began heating some clear broth as Jerry helped take the outer clothing from the man. Meg met Jerry’s eyes and he smiled. “Guess I’m glad I lost it.”
      “Me too.”
      Cocooned in heated blankets, the man’s breathing became easier. Someone brought extra pillows to prop him up to help his breathing further and Lorene appeared with the broth.
      “We don’t want him to choke, but I do think it’s a good idea to get some warmth inside him.” Meg looked over at Celine and Becky. They nodded.
      As a further precaution, Meg had Jerry take a seat behind the man to hold him against his chest as Meg allowed a sip into the stranger’s mouth.
      That roused him a little and though he didn’t open his eyes, he did swallow the nourishment. Meg gave him a little more. After three sips, his eyes began fluttering and he managed to open them. “W-where?”
      Now he was shivering as his body warmed. Meg had to remind herself that was a good sign.
      “You’re safe now. We found you outside, but it’s warm in here and there’s food. Try to relax.”
      Meg smiled. He was trying. “I’m Meg. The guy behind you is Jerry. He found you. I’ll introduce the rest when you’re more awake. Would you like some more broth?”
      He nodded and she held the cup to his lips.
      “And what’s your name?” She asked when he stopped drinking.
      He shook his head.
      “You don’t know?”
      She nodded. Everyone who had recovered from a case of the flu, even after getting the vaccine had at least a short period of memory loss. But it had been weeks since she’d seen a new case. They’d been in Tennessee for nearly two months now and before they had left the CDC no one else had come in.
      Meg wished once again that Amanda was with them. She would know how to look after this man.
      “Okay. It’s not a problem. We’re familiar with flu cases. You need to rest. Your memories will return, but right now your body needs to regain its strength.”
      He closed his eyes and Meg thought he was asleep before Jerry lowered him back to the pillows.
      Meg was waiting by the door when Jim and Vic returned. Jim shook his head. “He was alone. No tracks, no one else out there. We did find his backpack, I think.” He held up the battered pack.
      “I know you’re sure, but—“
      “Very sure, Meg. Don’t worry.”
      She tried to smile at that. She knew he’d do whatever it took to keep her, to keep all of them safe. The realization that a stranger now slept in the room with them was filtering in.
      “We’ll keep an eye on him.”
      “Not a problem yet. He’s weak as a kitten and sound asleep.”
      “Who is he?”
      “No memory. He’s had the flu.”
      “Interesting. I thought that was gone.”
      “Me too. At least fewer people to pass it around. Maybe there’re more survivors around.”

Women strong enough for love.

I write science fiction, paranormal and small town romance eBooks about women coming into their strength and having the courage to find and accept love.

As an empty nester with my beloved best friend and husband (who actually encourages this mad passion of mine) I write all the time – whether or not I have a pen or keyboard handy.

Ever since I learned to read—from Superman Comics, Dick, Jane and Sally held no appeal—I’ve wanted to write. The possibilities of science fiction have always drawn me and I’ve read them all.  There just needed to be a little more romance in them. I finally got up the courage and I’m delighted that I’m able to share these stories with you.

My premiere novel, a science fiction romance – Rth Rising – was released on March 3, 2012 through Rebel Ink Press. My romance eBooks Learning Trust, Homecoming, Welcome Home, Red Shoes,  Wraith’s Heart,  Nowhere for Christmas and The Melting,Book 1- The Infection are now available at all eBook sellers. Wraith’s Heart and Learning Trust are now also available in paperback through Amazon. 

I’m a member of Romance Writers of America, the Fantasy, Futuristic & Paranormal Chapter of RWA and the Heart of Carolina Romance Writers.

Please check out the trailers for Rth Rising - and Wraith's Heart -