Looking back & Moving forward

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Here we are at the start of another year. I can honestly say I’m really glad 2018 is gone. It wasn’t the best year on record. The depression, an ever present thing, was more present than ever. My day job was a total bear at times and my writing was non-existent.

BUT . . . that was 2018.

2019 is totally different. It is The Year of Self Care! If you wanna know more about this check out the blog post from Tuesday and it will tell you all about it. Anyway, as it is the Year of Self Care part of that will be taking my writing back. I had decided on this right after Christmas. In preparation, I was going to email the publishing house that held my Promises Series and ask for it back. There were changes and additions and fixes I wanted to make and, to do this, I needed to own it again.

The universe must have heard because when I went out to the site they had closed up shop. I was stunned as I hadn’t received a notice about it. I checked in with Bronwyn and she hadn’t heard about it either, but she suggested I check in with them to make sure my books were now mine again.

Yes they are!!!!! This totally kicks off the Year of Self Care with a vengeance. So, this year I am going to work to get the books released again, plus finish, at least, 2 other books. I know big goals, but that’s what this year is about. I’m also going to blog every time. I always say I’m going to “try” to blog, but yeah like Yoda says “Do or do not, there is no try.” So smart.

I’m also going to be more present and take better care of myself. I’m going to put me first. I know, scary concept. But this whole thing is one day at a time.

Tell me what your goals for the new year are and go out and see what Jessica, Kris and Bronwyn say is their goals.

New Year, New Me . . . or something like that

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ID 129667027 © Magicnolia | Dreamstime.com

Self Care. Not a new concept. Especially since there’s a butt load of books out there talking about this very topic. Unfortunately, it’s a new idea for me. I’m sure I’m like most women and put everything else first. Job, family, friends . . . doesn’t matter. Everyone and everything comes first while I come in dead last every single time.

I was having this discussion with a friend of mine, Anne (who my sister calls The Goddess Anne). We were both talking about just how not good we felt. We were tired, not just body tired, but mind, spirit, soul deep tired. She’d been through a lot of crap in the last couple years and my battle with depression is an ongoing thing.

Thankfully, Anne and I work together and she’s my port in a storm. We talk about anything and everything and over our daily chats we both realized that we need to start putting ourselves first. It was an imperative to take this step. So, we declared 2019 The Year of Self Care.

I always think about it in a sentence with capital letters starting each word. It makes it more important and momentous. Thinking about it this way also pushes how important this step is. Self Care isn’t just a buzz word, it’s an act I need to think about and take seriously. As seriously as I took my college classes and teaching.

So, throughout this year I’m going to be blogging about the whole idea of Self Care. What it means to me, the steps I’m taking, my triumphs and, I’m sure, failures. No matter what, though, this is a journey I’m sticking with. I have to stick with. I really do believe it’s the way to get healthier. Healthier in my body, my mind, and most especially in my spirit.

I hope you’ll join me and share what you do for Self Care or, if nothing else, follow me as I go on this amazing and a tad scary journey of putting myself first.

December 2018 -Promptly Penned

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I can’t believe this is the last PP of the year. Everything has gone by so quickly. I will say, we saved one of the best for last, since the prompt made me laugh. Oh and I instantly thought of Shay and Josie for the prompt. Hope you all enjoy. And, as always, the prompt will be in bold type.

 

Shay settled her backpack more securely and worked her way up the small rise. The forest was quiet around them as the last rays of the sun were visible through the trees. As a child, her mother had always told her to trust her instincts and that’s exactly what she was doing. Which was good, since she didn’t have a clue. They needed help so she was going to use a spell from one of her great grandmother’s grimoires. It was called The Spell of Calling and was only to be used in a dire situation and only as a last resort. Well demon things lose in the world and eating people was pretty much a huge emergency.

As she reached the highest point of the hiking path, Josie staggered up and dropped to the ground.

This is my life now,” Josie said, trying to catch her breath. “I have climbed this hill and now, I will die upon it.”

Shay rolled her eyes. “Shut up. We’ve only been hiking for twenty minutes.”

“You shut up, stupid face.”

Shay shook her head. “You need to shut up more. And, we’re supposed to utilize the training facilities to stay in shape. Aren’t you doing that?”

“Hey, I’m the brains of this operation not the brawn.”

“Are you done screwing around? We have to get to the spot before the full moon rises.”

Josie forced herself to her feet. “I’m not screwing around. I’m exhausted and sweaty. Oh, and scared, let’s not forget scared.”

Shay put her hand on Josie’s arm. “Me too, but if I can get this right, we’ll have help.”

“Then let’s get this done.”

They set off again, but the walk was definitely easier. The ground was flat and it hadn’t rained recently so there was no mud. Also, it looked as though they were on an established walking trail. Shay only hoped that if they strayed into the forest, she could lead them out. Of course, she didn’t say that to Josie. The girl was already flipped out, no need to add more to her plate.

She led them down a small incline then veered off to the left and over a fallen tree. She broke into a trot as the pull became stronger. She pushed her way through heavy brush and found herself in a clearing containing a small mound. Shay gently put her foot on the ground and found it solid. Then she climbed to the top and dropped her pack.

“Should I stay down here?” Josie asked.

“Yes, thanks.”

Shay knelt on the ground and began to pull items from her pack. Her great grandmother’s small cauldron, her grandmother’s wand, and herbs from her mother’s garden. Then she pulled out stones from her own collection. Pieces she’d collected over the years. None of them were particularly spectacular, but they’d spoken to her. Lastly, she pulled her great grandmother’s spell book from the bag and opened it to the spell she wanted.

Shay took a deep breath. Then another. She opened her senses to the forest. She could hear the wind rustling the trees and night birds calling. When she was ready, she picked up the wand and cast a circle. Settling on the ground she began to add the herbs and stones to the cauldron. Though she had the book she didn’t need it. She knew what she had to do.

Finally, she placed her hands, palm down, over the cauldron and pushed all her need, fear and want into it. At the last moment she said, “Send me who we need.”

The contents of the cauldron lit up and began to glow. Shay pulled her hands away in time as a beam of pure radiant light shot up from the cauldron into the sky. Then it shot into the mound she sat on. The earth vibrated under her for about thirty seconds then everything went dark. She sat for a long moment then glanced up to find Josie staring at her wide-eyed.

“Okay, that was freaky as shit,” her best friend declared.

“Yeah, but I don’t see any help appearing out of the forest. Do you?”

Josie looked around. “Maybe it will take a few minutes.”

Shay really didn’t think so, but began the process of cleaning up and closing the circle. She was exhausted though. She felt the same way she had in college after taking a huge final. Empty and fuzzy headed as if every ounce of knowledge had been drained from her.

The two of them waited around for another half an hour when Shay had to admit to herself and Josie. “Okay, that was a fucking waste of time.”

Josie rubbed her eyes. “You don’t know that. And before you say anything, true, no one appeared out of the woods and declared he or she was here to help, but maybe it’ll take time. Maybe this person will be waiting for us back at our apartment.”

Shay nodded. “You’re right. I need to stay positive.”

As they hiked out of the woods, Shay tried to keep that thought alive, but deep down she knew she had royally screwed up.

 

Bronwyn Green      Jessica Jarman

December 2018 – Waiting . . .

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Alone sad abandoned lady crying on steps in dark

Hello and welcome to December. I can’t believe it’s the last month of the year already. And, this is our last photo flash fiction of 2018. This picture struck me as somewhat sad and, I decided no way. It’s the holidays so no sadness. Hope you enjoy what I wrote.

Sara sat on the twisting stone stairs with her chin resting in her hands. The little red dress did nothing to keep her warm, but she’d rather sit in the drafty old stairs then head back to the party. She loathed her mother and step-father’s holiday party. Everything was too bright, too loud and there were far too many people. She’d lasted about an hour, her norm, but she couldn’t leave. Oh no, her mother expected her to mingle and talk. That wasn’t Sara. That was never going to be Sara.

The crowd overwhelmed her. She never knew what to say. So, she hid. This year, though, her mother has chosen to hold the party at a castle. Oh, not a real castle, since they were miles and miles away from the United Kingdom. Someone, she forgot who, decided to build a replica castle in the middle of nowhere and now people could rent it out. Her mother has been so excited. Sara, not so much. She didn’t know the place as well as the hotel her mother and step-father normally chose so she sat in the drafty stairwell that led up to one of the towers.

A slight noise caught her attention and she looked up to find Jack watching her. He was so handsome with burnished blond hair and cool blue eyes. Her mother insisted on labeling him her older brother, but she certainly didn’t think of him that way. She’d been sixteen when her mother had remarried. Jack was her step-father’s oldest son and he’d been twenty-six and deployed when her mother and his father married.

Not long after, Sara had sent him a birthday card since her mother had told her it would be “the polite thing to do.” Dutifully, she’d purchased a card and had written an awkward introduction, never expecting anything in return. She’d been surprised to find a letter from him a few weeks later. It hadn’t been long, but she’d liked how he didn’t talk to her like a kid, so she’d written him back. That has started their exchange of letters and, Sara had felt, she finally had someone she could confide in. She could say all the things to Jack she wasn’t able to say to anyone else.

In the nearly six years, they rarely met face to face, but they always wrote. In fact, she was the first person to know he was leaving the service. And, that he was planning to move back to the city. The whole idea confused her. Sara was so glad he’d left the service, but she didn’t know what she was going to do without her confidante. There was no way she could say the things she’d said face to face. And, now that he was back, he had a life. She knew he and a friend had started their own business and that he was dating someone. She’d overheard her step-father tell her mother he thought it was serious. So, Jack didn’t need her letters. Didn’t need her.

He stepped forward and sat on the step below her. The black tux he wore stretched taut over his broad shoulders and it took everything she had not to reach out and touch him. Turning, he propped his shoulder against the wall and smiled at her.

“I’ve been looking for you.”

“Why?”

“What do you mean why? I wanted to see you. No,” he said, shaking his head, “I had to see you.”

She gave a small shrug. “Well, here I am.” Nervously, she picked at the hem of her dress.

“Sara,” he said, reaching up to take her hand.

God, the shock of the warmth of his hand almost made her freeze. How long had it been since someone touched her? That she let anyone touch her? She couldn’t remember. It didn’t feel bad though. No, not at all. It made her feel real, more present.

“Your hands are cold.”

He took both of her hands in his and gently rubbed them. She finally looked up to meet his eyes and he gave her a small smile.

“There you are. My Sara. What do you say we get out of here? It’s too cold to sit here and I don’t want to go back to the party.”

“What about your date?”

His brow wrinkled. “What date?”

“Your dad said you were dating someone.”

He gave a small laugh. “No, I’m not. Besides, I came here to see you. To talk to you. So, are you ready to leave? We can go someplace and get something hot to drink. Talk.”

Sara didn’t hesitate. “Okay.”

He took her hand and pulled her off the steps. Tucking her hand in the crook of his arm he led her out of the cold stairwell and into warmth and light.

Bronwyn       Siobhan

November 2018 Wordless Wednesday

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Welcome to Wordless Wednesday! If you know anything about me you know I can’t post anything without chatting. I mean, I wouldn’t want you to sit and look at pics without knowing where the hell we are. Though, if you’re a history geek like I am, you could probably guess. If you’re not, the pics below are all from Colonial Williamsburg just a few short weeks ago. We had so much fun!! If you’ve never been, I highly recommend it.

 

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Bronwyn Green      Jessica Jarman       Siobhan Muir

When Night Falls

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11-2018

Welcome to the photo flash fiction for November. The pic above is a amazing and so many thoughts flew through my head when I saw it. I hope you like what I came up with. Enjoy!

 

Fog writhed across the ground as Caitlyn slowly turned onto a one lane road and pulled up to a set of iron gates. She checked the address Grigori had given her against the plate attached to the gate and found an exact match. Rolling down her window, she punched the code into the pad tucked discretely behind a large bush and the gates slowly swung open.

She drove through and watched in the rearview mirror as the gates shut behind her. Clutching the steering wheel, a bit tighter, she followed the drive around until she pulled to a stop in front of a huge stone house. The fog was so heavy she could barely make out the steps that lead up to a massive front door, never mind trying to see anything else.

Caitlyn shut off the car and grabbed her purse to step out of the car. Quiet. It was so quiet. Nothing moved. There was no wind, no birds. Nothing. Just the slowly undulating fog that crept across the ground. If she didn’t know any better, she’d think she was the last person alive in the world.

Rolling her eyes at the thought, she clutched her purse a bit tighter and marched up the front steps. She rapped smartly on the door, but paused as it silently swung open. A slight frisson of fear danced up her spine as goosebumps made an appearance on her arms.

I’m not scared, she told herself. There’s nothing to be afraid of. Nothing here can hurt me.

Keeping that thought in mind, she stepped into the large open hall and closed the door behind her. A flicker of light to the left caught her eye and she moved toward it to find a living room dominated by a large fireplace. A fire roared and crackled illuminating a small table draped in a crisp white tablecloth set for two. Caitlyn stepped in and dropped her purse on the couch on the way to the table.

Across one of the plates lay a perfect red rose under a card with her name scrawled in a heavy, masculine hand. The man did not miss a trick. Picking up the rose, she ran her fingers over the velvety petals as the soft sweet fragrance of the flower enveloped her.

“I see you found the place with no problem.”

She spun to find the man himself leaning against the door jam watching her. Damn he was handsome with a thick head of black hair, sharp cheekbones and lips she could kiss for days. Of course, the Russian accent only added to the appeal. She sometimes wondered how the hell she’d gotten so lucky.

“This is quite the house,” she said. “The drive was long and if it weren’t for the GPS I don’t know if I would have found it.”

“I wanted to make sure we wouldn’t be disturbed.”

He stepped up to cup her face in his large hands. They stared at one another as he slowly lowered his head and took her lips. The kiss was like coming home. She’d missed him, but it couldn’t be helped since his job, his life, often kept him away.

“I’ve missed you,” he said, as if he’d read her thoughts.

“I was just thinking that. I hate when I don’t see you.”

“Good, since I don’t like being parted from you. What would you say if I asked you to be with me? Forever?”

“Be with you? Like married?”

He nodded and smiled. Fangs. Long fangs slid from his upper teeth. “What do you say? Will you be mine?”

Caitlyn smiled and jumped into Grigori’s arms. “Yes, yes, I’ll be yours.”

“Forever?”

“Forever.”

Jessica   Bronwyn   Siobhan

If you could win a lifetime supply of anything what would you choose? Why?

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Can you guess what I’d choose?? Let me try again

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Or even better

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If you guessed money, you’d be so right!!! And why?? Well duh. Money. If I had a lifetime supply of money I could do all the things. Pay off all my bills, travel, help my besties out. Oh and not have to work an outside job. I could actually focus totally on writing. That would be so amazing.

So, what would you like to win a lifetime supply of? Tell me down in the comments. Oh and go check out what the other fabulous bloggers have to say on the topic.

Jessica    Bronwyn     Paige