• Random Musings

    Putting on your best professional self on every front!

    Pensive vintage woman with hand on chin, typing on typewriter and looking for inspiration

    When my kids were growing up and social media was becoming a thing I had two concerns.

    First, what crazy whack jobs could potentially be stalking my children.

    And second, what are my children projecting.

    I've been doing a lot of thinking regarding social media these days. We've all seen people go on-line and behave badly. We see the political debates turning into the ugly bashing of people's opinions. We see a lot of mean girl type behavior. We see it all on social media, literally. We also see people posting all about the good things and how perfect there life is. Kudos.

    I recently had a conversation with a couple of fellow authors about putting our best foot forward when showing ourselves on social media. Authors are using social media to promote their brand. Their business. Their livelihood. So, during the discussion, the question then became: where do you draw the line between being professional, being authentic, and crossing the line?

    How I behave in a business setting is very different from how I behave in a personal setting. With my friends, I have the mouth of a truck driver. I like to swear. Do I do that in business? Nope. Do I do it on social media? Sometimes, depending on the circumstances. When I'm hanging with my girlfriends, I'm not concerned about how I come off. I'm being me. My friends accept me, faults and all. But do my business associates? Probably not because they aren't my friends.

    So, what am I to do on social media? Do I be myself? Or do I curb my personality traits that others might find offensive?

    I do the latter. Why you ask?

    Because people are watching. My Facebook page is public. It's not private between me and my friends. It's out there for the world to see. For editors, agents, other industry professionals, and readers. Does that mean I'm not being authentic? Absolutely not! I'm still being my weirdo self. I'm just doing it in what might be considered a less offensive way. I liken it to getting dressed and putting on make-up when I leave the house over staying in my PJ's all day with my hair in a messy bun. When I go to a conference, I dress a certain way. I don't wear what I lounge around in the house in and I don't go decked out as if I'm going to a nightclub. Two things I will do in my personal life.

    Social media has merged social and professional. This is not necessarily a bad thing. I have no issues with people posting political opinions. I won't comment on them, because it's their opinion and I'm good with that. I don't need to agree, or disagree and it has nothing to do with worrying about what others think and everything to do with separate personal from professional. It's a fine line in today's world, but it's one I still believe we need keep in mind when we're posting things on social media.

    I teach a workshop on building your brand. Everything you do on social media is part of your brand as well as an extension of your personal self. You want to balance being your authentic self and being a professional. Why is that different? Your authentic self might fart at the dinner table, but does that need to be posted on social media, no matter how funny it might be? That said, do you need to be completely well-behaved? God no. This is a fine line that anyone who uses social media to promote a business or us authors promoting our books. One of my author friends asked why I so readily post some of those name games that show me as a bitch, or something else when I feel so strongly about straddling this line between showing your ass and being professional. I answered with the the idea that it's good for my readers, as well as other industry professionals, to see me outside of being on my total best behavior, but not having to hear me sing in the shower.

    I say to you, beware your audience. Not everyone is going to like us but for those we have to work with, why ruffle feathers? And remember that even if you delete something from social media, it takes a while for it to go away, and if you feel the need to delete it, than maybe you shouldn't have posted it in the first place.

    Now, on the flip side, only posting ourselves at our best can have an adverse reaction to our followers. We need to be ourselves, to a certain extent, but we also need to make sure we are being professional.

    And that is my rambling for today.

  • Random Musings

    What are your plans for the new year?

    I have never been a fan of New Years Resolutions, so, I don't make them. I do, however, strive to be a better version of me. I LOVE that saying because we can't change other people, only ourselves. At 52, I find myself reaching into the past, remembering the young girl I once was, the young woman I became, and the 'of age' woman I am now. I have not lived an interesting life, but I have lived a life. A good one too, no matter the ups and downs. I strive to ride out the downhill slope of older years much the same way I climbed the hill to middle age...striving for something.

    In 2019, I will strive to exorcise more. That means more than walking and riding my bike.

    In 2019, I will strive to be a better writer. That means taking workshops on craft, reading books on craft, and stretching my writing.

    In 2019, I will strive to take better care of myself emotionally. That means staying away from situations that cause me a great deal of anxiety and stress.

    In 2019, I will strive to be kinder and more forgiving.

    In 2019, I will strive to learn new things and go on new adventures.

    In 2019, I will strive to be a better friend. Over the last few years, I have developed some fantastic friendships, that need a little attention from me.

    In 2019, I will strive to be more social.

    In 2019, I will strive to NOT make the same mistakes I made in 2018.

    Wow. I remember growing up as a kid in the 70's and 80's, thinking 1999 was so far away and now I'm typing 2019. Weird.

    What will you strive for in 2019?

  • Random Musings

    A Christmas Getaway: A story about life, loss, and finding love again

    They say time heals all wounds. I’m honestly not so sure I believe in that sentiment wholeheartedly.

    I sound like a pessimist, don’t I?

    My entire life I’ve waffled between the belief that anything is possible, tomorrow will be a new day, that there is hope, and we can get through all things in life. But I’ve also straddled the pragmatic side…as in we have two choices

    1. We can sit idle and do nothing
    2. We can move forward, always looking to the future, but living in the present

    I’m a pretty paratactical girl who likes to daydream.

    I had an interesting childhood, filled with love, drama, heartache, pain…you name it. But really, isn’t that life?

    A friend of mine lost her husband to cancer a little over 4 years ago. He battled to the very end. As a couple, they were positive through the entire thing. Even when it was time to break down and cry, everything they said had a twist toward the positive. To them, life and love, no matter how short or long, was a gift. Something to cherish and when life took a bad turn, that was the time to remember to live life true to yourself.

    You do you kind of thing.

    When I was asked to write in the Love, Christmas Anthology, which had to be based on a holiday movie, I chose The Christmas Getaway from Hallmark. Why? I liked the premise. Two people forced to share the same space in a cabin over the holidays because of a mix up in reservations. I thought that would be cute. I honestly thought I’d write a romantic comedy. I had visions of my heroine baking cookies, dumping flour over the hero. I had images of her falling down on the slopes, taking him out with her. That’s all fine and dandy, but I had no backstory.

    So, I started with my heroine. She’s a widow. Lost her husband before her son was born. He was a pilot in the Navy…oh, me thinks this won’t be a comedy. Then I got to thinking about my dear friend, who is the strongest woman I’ve ever met, and her children, and how they’ve tried to keep up the traditions, while moving forward with life. Because as my friend always said, life goes on. So, I made my heroine a kick ass woman who can make it all on her own.

    Cool. Now what about him? Well, crap. I like to torture my hero…so, he lost his wife and son the year before and he came to that mountain to ski fast during the day, and drown his sorrows at night.

    Only, he’s stuck with this woman and her son…reminding him of everything he lost. But it also showed him that he’d never stop missing his wife and son, he could live his life and find love again.

    The journey that these two take is about learning to start over. It doesn’t mean you forget, it means you put one foot in front of the other with your chin held high and do your best to do you.

    I hope you’ll check out the anthology and all the novellas inside!

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  • Random Musings

    A little taste of A Christmas Getaway

    Favorite Holiday Recipes is a collection of recipes from the New York Times, USA Today and Award-winning, International, Bestselling authors of LOVE, CHRISTMAS - MOVIES YOU LOVE (THE HOLIDAY SERIES BOOK 2)

    Read the small excerpts that preface each recipe as each author tells you why her recipe is important to her story.

    Full of pictures, these mouth-watering recipes are sure to inspire your culinary (or eating) desires. Included are appetizers (mulled wine, pineapple punch, millionaire's bacon), main dishes (lasagne, lobster mac and cheese, crock pot venison stew, traditional smoked salmon) and baked goods and desserts (fry bread, almond apricot coffee cake, double chocolate chip cookies, shortbread, cinnamon rolls) - in all, twenty-six recipes by the authors from all around the world.

    These yummies are some of the authors’ favorites and a gift to our readers from us. We hope you enjoy these treats as much as we do.

    Double chocolate chip cookies with mint

    Olivia Tate wants one thing for her son: to feel connected to the father he’s never known. Every Christmas, she and Noah head north to the lake where her late husband grew up. Equipped with a list of his family traditions, she does her best to follow each one to the letter, right down to baking his grandmother’s famous Christmas cookies. Now eight-years-old, Noah tells her he wants to try something new and learn how to snow ski. So, she makes a deal with her son. She’ll take him to the mountains in Vermont as long as they continue with the rest of the traditions.

    What she hadn’t anticipated was the handsome stranger she’d be forced to share a cabin with and the effect he has on her heart, awaking desires she had long buried in the snow.

    While deployed eleven months earlier, Navy SEAL Ryder Jameson lost his wife and son in a mass shooting. Needing to escape his family, and hers, he rents a cabin three days before Christmas. Armed with a few bottles Jack, all he wants to do is drink away the painful void left from losing the two people who matter most.

    Just as he cracks open his first bottle of whiskey, a woman and her son walk into his cabin. One phone call reveals a mistake in the reservation and no more availability at the resort. To make matters worse, a major snow storm makes it impossible for either one of them to trek to another hotel, leaving him to deal with a boy filled with questions and woman who makes him believe he could risk his heart and love again.

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