Monday, December 31, 2018

2019: The Year of Liking Myself

Each year I write down a list of goals for the New Year. Year after year, I make a list that includes the usual suspects: lose weight, get a better job, exercise an hour a day, go on a 1,000 calorie a day diet, become a super model. Okay, that last one was never on my list. However, when I look at these lists, embedded within each goal is a kernel of shame whispering “You are not enough—and you never will be.” Many of us have these feelings, ranging from “You really stink” to “You’re okay, but still not good enough for xyz.” Each year brings a mantra of “not enough.” Well this year, my goal is to live like me, and LIKING me. Sounds crazy, right? Here’s my wild plan.
1.     Each day I will remember to be grateful for my life. I have a gratitude jar, one I filled with slips of paper on which I wrote things I was grateful for. I began it years ago and put it away. I’m pulling that jar out and adding a new slip: I’m grateful to be me and to have a great life.
2.     I will put things in perspective. It is not reasonable to believe, based on my age and chronic illness of asthma, that I will be a mountain climber, body builder, or super model. I don’t ask the dog to be a cat. I shouldn’t do it to myself.
3.     I will focus on what gives me pleasure instead of what gives me pain. Shifting focus and emphasizing the good in my surroundings may sound rather Pollyanna-ish. However, rational emotive behavioral therapy (REBT) has demonstrated that stinking thinking can get you down. Refocus, reframe, refresh will be my mantra.
4.     Grow older. This one is pretty easy. A friend who is a gerontologist told me, “The older we get, the more we become like ourselves.” I can’t stop the clock, so I’m going to accept that and become more like myself.
5.     Ignore the little stuff. That annoying petty gossip at work, the angry driver honking his horn, the irritated woman in line behind you. I’m going to walk away from the gossip, allow the angry driver to pass me, and give that irritated woman my place in line. What will it cost me? Five minutes of my time and I will receive a little more peace of mind.
6.     Move more. Notice I didn’t say run a marathon. Except in bad weather, I already walk our dogs every day. Adding a 20 minutes a day of stretching, weight training, or elliptical (better for the knees) cardio to my routine will enable me to continue to be active.
7.     Eat. Never again (except on Yom Kippur or before a colonoscopy) will I starve myself. Those days are gone. Food—good food is the fuel we need to work, play, think. The fuel can be low test or high test, so I’m going to do a better job of watching what I put into this amazing engine called my body.
8.     Drink. Water, yes, water, lots of it. The machine needs fluid to keep running right. Dehydration leads to a host of issues. And, yes, wine in moderation.  I didn’t say I was Carrie Nation, did I?
9.     Spend time with people I love. Negative, nasty people sap my energy and generate bad responses in me. Our lives are finite. From this point on, my time will be spent with those I love and make me happy.
10.  Finish a new novel. Hey! That’s not saying I’m not good enough! That’s saying, “I am good enough!” Every new book requires the author to take risks, to brave the fear of finishing and of criticism. This year, it’s going to be number four in my Hotel LaBelle Series. I can’t wait to dive into it.
When someone says you will never do such and such, don’t buy into their low self-esteem and put downs. They do that to feel better about themselves. It is never too late to say, “I’m good enough” and to like yourself. 2019 is going to be a GREAT year!

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Moonlight & Moet ♥♥ FREE For a Limited Time ♥♥ December 26th - December 29th

Moonlight & Moet
B&B Billionaire Romance Series (Book 2)
by Madison Michael 
♥♥ FREE For a Limited Time ♥♥
December 26th - December 29th
Moonlight & Moet Amazon Buy Link:
About Moonlight & Moet:
Can the Hottest Man Around Melt this Ice Queen’s Heart?
When her husband publicly cheats on her, Leigh Dobbs trades her humiliating reputation as an ice queen and a hometown that shuns her for the unknown of rural North Carolina. Taking over a small bed and breakfast, Leigh sets out to restore it, her dignity and her life. Excited at the prospect of adding more rooms and a full-service restaurant, Leigh’s big plans encounter the brick wall that is Caleb Rausch. Sparks fly even as Caleb votes no on the planning commission, crushing Leigh’s dreams.
Handsome powerhouse Caleb Rausch is a man on a mission, expanding his huge corporation without encroaching on the small town where it resides. His commitment to his products, employees and historic preservation are unwavering. What’s lacking is his commitment to one woman. Caleb is the most eligible bachelor in three states, dating celebrities and models, but never settling down. Until now.
Even as Caleb forces Leigh’s expansion plans on hold, the couple moves full-steam-ahead on their relationship, unable to resist the mutual attraction. So why, after a steamy night together, does Caleb disappear for weeks? Has Leigh put her heart out there again, just to be played?
Will the magic of a moonlit night be enough to kindle their love or will Caleb’s constant disappearing act prevent him from melting this ice queen’s heart?
Moonlight & Moet Amazon Buy Link:
♥♥ Gigantic Christmas Giveaway ♥♥
December 24th - December 31st
Bewildered & Studmuffin
By Madison Michael
About the Author: 
Madison Michael is an indie publisher, blogger and the author of the Beguiling Bachelor Series as well as the novella Desire & Dessert, from her sizzling B&B Billionaire Bachelor series.
A Chicago native and hopeless romantic, Maddy was raised on Chicago culture, fairy tales, great literature and swashbuckling movies. Maddy employs that history, writing steamy contemporary romance novels set against the sumptuous backdrop of Chicago’s elite society.
After receiving a BA in Journalism from the University of Illinois and an MBA from Loyola University of Chicago, Madison abandoned her writing to find her way in the corporate business world. Daughter of a librarian, it was inevitable that she would return to the world of books.
Maddy writes from high above Chicago where she can stare at its gorgeous skyline or the shores of Lake Michigan surrounded by feline assistants. When she is not writing,, Maddy can be found lost in a book, fighting for the rights of the mentally iil or dining on Chicago’s famous cuisine. Hot dogs and pizza, anyone?

Thursday, December 27, 2018

New Release: For the Love of a Spy: the Scrivener and the Handyman by M.S. Spencer

Thanks so much for letting me talk about my new romantic suspense, For the Love of a Spy: the Scrivener and the Handyman.
I admit it: For the Love of a Spy was born out of a delicious dream. I woke slowly, savoring the romance, and latching onto the last line. It is in fact, the last line of the story. But you have to read the whole book to get to it. Thankfully, there’s quite a lot of good stuff—adventure, action, and romance—to help you through.
When Maris Graystone, political writer, and Michael Kinder, CIA troubleshooter, meet, sparks fly. Their love affair intensifies against the backdrop of the dramatic world events of 1991. Michael appears and disappears at unpredictable moments, leaving Maris limp and lovelorn. Looking for safe harbor for her emotions and her body, she accepts the advances of a dashing French diplomat.
Torn between the luxury and comfort of Émile and his chateau, and the romance of international intrigue with Michael, who will she choose?
I Heart Publishing, December 27, 2018
Spicy (PG-13)
Maris lay quietly. Even the warm water couldn’t relax her now. How can I possibly stay here? How could she in good conscience be with Émile, when all it took to set her off was a vision of blue eyes gazing lustily down at her? On the other hand, how can I be so infatuated with a man I’ve known a grand total of three days? When will I be able to move on?
But Michael’s body was somehow tattooed onto her skin now. A word, a picture, a scent, entered her consciousness, and her whole being reached out for a man who wasn’t there. Who wouldn’t ever be there. Or who was probably involved in something illegal, or at least unsavory. He could be in prison. Or worse—unable to return to the United States. It had been almost three months, and she had heard nothing—except that poem on her computer. The love poem.
How did it go? Something about having loved three whole days. She remembered the last stanza even though she’d taken great pains not to memorize any of it. “Had it any been but she / And that very face, / There had been at least ere this, / A dozen dozen in her place!”
Was there a message there, other than that he still existed? Did he want to remind her of their affair, or plead with her to wait for him? She thought she’d gotten him out of her system, but she knew instinctively that he would always be an ineradicable part of her, a kind of benign tumor or dormant virus. The thought was bittersweet and funny.
Buy Links:
It will also be available at Walmart and on I Tunes.

Although M. S. Spencer has lived or traveled in five of the seven continents, the last thirty years were spent mostly in Washington, D.C. as a librarian, Congressional staff assistant, speechwriter, editor, birdwatcher, policy wonk, non-profit director, and parent. After many years in academia, she worked for the U.S. Senate, the U.S. Department of the Interior, in several library systems, both public and academic, and at the Torpedo Factory Art Center. She has two grown children and a perfect granddaughter. Ms. Spencer has published twelve mystery/romantic suspense novels, and currently divides her time between Florida and Maine.
My calendar of events can be found here: