Body Image and Seasonal Dysfunction

My jeans don’t fit! I’ve lost weight. Lots of it. I have more to lose. You’d think I’d be happy, but I’m not. I’ve barely lost where I need to lose it the most. I hate this in-between stage. I need a new body! I don’t like the one that has come with passing birthdays. This one needs a complete engine overhaul and a new paint job.

My daughter is at the beach for a week. I could easily join her, but I won’t. There is no way I’m going to put on a bathing suit. It’s body image and I know what my image is. My oink, oink body is starting to imitate a Chinese Shar-Pei . I can see what is staring at me in the mirror, and I’m thinking no-way! Embrace my curves? My curves are in the wrong places and headed south. The days of wearing a bathing suit in public are done for me – besides we aren’t supposed to be in the sun. I’ve had plenty of sun in my life, more than enough.

To make matter worse, I’m writing a Christmas story. As authors, it seems we are always off season with our stories. This year is no different. I actually have two stories in edits.  Let’s pretend we are freezing as we walk through the snowy street. We’re doing that while trying to keep the house cool enough that we don’t melt! Does it make me feel any cooler to envision a snowy walk? The sweat pouring off my forehead is not snow.  I wish it were that easy. I’d be writing tropical beach romances in January and snowboarding adventures in July. Just think of the savings in power bills.

I need to do a little post holiday shopping when the sales on summer clothes are probably at their best.  But anything I buy, I’m hoping won’t fit next year. I think I should make do with the few things I bought this spring.

I watched a friend last year lose tons of weight. I kept telling him to buy a few new clothes, because he got to the point that he couldn’t walk without holding onto his pants. When he finally bought some new clothes, the transformation was amazing.  I’m not quite to that point with my weight loss.  Maybe in another month and by then all the stores will have their winter clothes. That won’t help me when September and October can still be darn hot here in Virginia.

It does conjure up the memory of my youngest daughter having a massive growth spurt when she was about two. Right after Christmas, I noticed her little snowsuit was snug. A week later, I could barely get her in it, and the little sleeves were much too short. Do you know what it is like to buy something like that after Christmas? Every store told me they had sold out and they weren’t getting any more in stock. (Back in the old pre-internet days.) I think my friend bailed me out with one from one of her friends that no longer fit her daughter.

Anyway I look out my back door and I see green grass, Cannas blooming, too many Japanese beetles, a set of robins frantic to gather bugs to take to the nest filled with young ones, hummingbirds flitting, the sky is blue, and I’m writing about Christmas in the northern hemisphere. Seriously? Yes.

So I’m seasonally out of kilter. My pants are trying to fall off of me, and the body is having a race to see which part of me can reach my knees first. And the winner is… To be announced at a later date.

But if you’d like to read a book that will take you through a few seasons, and take your mind off your own body image, A Rancher’s Request released on July 27, 2017. (Somehow I can’t imagine living around here in 1890 wearing long dresses  with no air conditioning.) These two people might be more suited to one another than either one wants to admit. Zadie is determined to make Duncan change his mind about the arranged marriage that their fathers have agreed upon.

Here’s a snippet you might enjoy of Zadie chatting with her best friend.

A shiver ran up Zadie’s spine. “Marriage isn’t that far off for me.”

You have a suitor?”

“Thank you very much. You make it sound as though I would never have one.”

Catherine looked at her children who were now tossing seeds from a maple tree into the air and watching them spin to the ground. “I didn’t mean it that way. But you never seem to have an interested male. You went off and were educated. This is Franklin. No one around here does that.”

“Well, I did and I’m glad I did. And as for my suitor, he’s the son of an old family friend.” She decided that wasn’t lying. It also wasn’t telling the whole truth.

“Oh, that’s so exciting. Tell me more! Do I know him?”

She shook her head. “Not much to tell. He’s from Edenton, he’s moved to Wyoming, and we’ve been corresponding. So far everything is going well.” All right, that’s a lie. Maybe I should write to him. What if this doesn’t work?

“Oh, I’m so happy for you.”

“Well, don’t get your hopes up or spread a bunch of gossip, because I still don’t know what will happen. We’ll leave it with so far everything is working well.” Another lie. If you call getting chapped hands from all the laundry as working well, it’s a fry-in-Hell sort of lie. I’d like to skewer my father and roast him for dinner.

“Wyoming? Isn’t that a territory?”

Zadie shook her head. “It recently gained statehood.”

“Aren’t there Indians out there?”

Again Zadie nodded. “I’ve heard it is very wild in the west.”

“Aren’t you scared?”

Zadie smiled. I’m scared out of my skin and not so much about the Indians. I’m more worried about my own survival skills without a maid to help me. “I’m certain Duncan will protect me.”

It’s available in paperback and in ebook.

Click on the cover for a sneak preview!

 

 

 

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Kindle Scout

Thank you so much for nominating A BRIDE FOR PRINCE PAUL. I had fun writing this story and hope you enjoyed reading the excerpt posted on Kindle Scout. My book was published two days ago on Amazon. It’s on sale for the 4th of July week and will go up to regular price at the end of next week.

Kindle Scout approved my submission on May 11 and posted the book cover, blurb (500 characters), a one-line teaser (45 characters) a short bio (500 characters with 4 social links), and three questions/answers (300 characters).

Blurb: To please his dying grandfather and protect his country’s autonomy, Prince Paul of Rensy Island must marry an American doctor, descendant of a Rensian princess. Paul, a confirmed bachelor, agrees to meet Amy incognito during her vacation in Paris. Although her career and ex-boyfriend are major interferences, attraction sizzles between Amy and her driver, but the rumor of her engagement to Prince Paul outrages her. Can he convince her that he loves her, in spite of his lies by omission?

One line teaser: She can’t abandon her patients for his crown!

My three questions:

1-What is the inspiration for the story?
While cruising the British Isles, I visited Guernsey, in the English Channel. This quaint island with special privileges and autonomy became the setting of my new story, Rensy Island. The prince’s romance was inspired by Prince William and Kate’s, but my heroine is a dedicated American doctor.

2-When did you decide to become a writer?
Storytelling must have been in my genes. My father, a writer, gave me books for Christmas or birthdays. During the summer vacations, I read a book every day. But I became a chemist! Burnt-out by long hours at work, I quit a successful scientific career to fulfill my dream of writing romance novels.

3-This book is part of a series, tell us about the series.
Prince Paul, our hero, has a brother and two sisters. Each will have a story. Charlene falls in love with the ex-boyfriend of Paul’s wife, Amy. A man that her brother can’t stand. Scott is an excellent doctor and Amy called him to save her baby, but Charlene wonders if he’s over his love for Amy.

My experience at Kindle Scout:
Kindle Scout encouraged me to promote my book daily in order to receive as many nominations as possible, during my month on Kindle Scout, from May 11 to June 10.

From day one, I prepared a list of promotions and a schedule, making sure that I would send emails, share on Facebook, tweet, blog, message on FB, send my own newsletter, participate in multi-authors newsletters, boost post on FB, use free promo, announce it on every loop, email friends and relative, and post about it during Facebook events. Wherever I went I ask people to nominate my book–hairdresser, doctor, podiatrist, supermarket, neighbors,… I was impressed by the eagerness of people to help.

A BRIDE FOR PRINCE PAUL remained ‘Hot and Trending’ every single day for a month. I received 4,394 page views thanks to your help and support. Kindle Scout updated my statistic daily at 5:30 a.m. For 30 days, I jumped out of bed at 5:45 a.m. to go check my KS page. You can see the statistics posted by Kindle Scout here.

PAGE VIEW PER DAY

Unfortunately, Kindle Press did not select my book for publication. Kindle Scout has 15 days to notify the nominee and say Ay or Nay. They sent me their “rejection” email after 14 days.

Was the experience productive and useful?
Yes, productive although I was not selected, because Kindle Scout sent the book link on Amazon to 4,394 people!!! A huge promo in itself.
Yes, very useful because I learned that if I did the same promotion for every book I publish, I would have no problem selling!

Would I submit another book to Kindle Scout?
Not. After carefully studying the selected books, I noticed they mainly select paranormal and young adult stories! I also heard that submissions with as little as 900 page views were selected, the average number of page views being between 2,500 and 3,500.

A BRIDE FOR PRINCE PAUL is available at Amazon. I hope you will enjoy reading the story of Prince Paul and Dr. Amy as they meet in Paris, enjoy a dream vacation in this amazing capital, and face a bitter reality in Rensy Island.

She can’t abandon her patients for his crown!!!

New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author, Mona Risk, writes all the time, at home in Florida, when she babysits or waits for her grandchildren at gym, karate, piano or cheer-leading and even when she’s in vacation. Sprinkled with a good dose of humor, her stories are inspired by the people around her, and set in the fascinating places she visits during her endless traveling. Mona received an Outstanding Achiever Award from Affaire de Coeur Magazine. She’s a winner of Best Contemporary Romance of the Year from Readers Favorite; and from Preditors & Editors Readers Poll.

Website     Twitter    Facebook   Amazon Page

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Sneak-a-Peek

Let’s take a look at my upcoming book for Authors of Main Street’s 2017 Christmas boxed set.

I’m having a great time writing this book.  Children make Christmas, and this story is no different.

Ellie Newsome’s marriage is crumbling, and she’s gone through a few rough weeks. She desperately needs to talk to her mother. But her mother has Alzheimer’s, and is in a nursing facility.

The excerpt takes place in the nursing facility and Ellie has yet one more let-down.

The Christmas Stocking

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All twenty-four-year-old Ellie Newsome ever wanted was a happy home, a trustworthy husband and the sound of pitter-patter dancing across her floors.

She’d never wanted to settle for less…but she had. Had she known Ryan had only married her to give him babies, she’d not have said yes. But she had. Now, her hopes and dreams were gone. Gone as quickly as her husband had taken the coward’s way out, and deserted her a week after the second miscarriage and two weeks before Thanksgiving.

Alone, an ailing father, her mother in a nursing home, and with no way to support herself, Ellie had only her faith for comfort.

Little did Ellie know, God was about to intervene.

One week before Thanksgiving.

Twenty-six-year-old Luke Conway has lost his wife in a car accident. Luke is still hospitalized and in critical condition. His two children have nowhere to go but the Children’s Home in Apple Lake, Georgia. Except the Children’s Home is full. And no one else in town has room, or is too old to care for the children.

A social worker knocks on Ellie Newsome’s door late at night with Luke’s daughter, nine-year-old Danni Conway and six-month-old Brett Conway, by her side.

At first Ellie refuses to care for someone else’s children, but finally gives in when the social worker promises to find the children another home within a week.

It’s now two weeks before Christmas, and the children are still with Ellie. She’s determined the children won’t go without Christmas, even if the worker places them before Christmas. She discovers shopping for them and teaching Danni to bake cookies, gives her more joy than she thought possible.

She’s had no contact with the children’s father, neither has the case worker informed her of his condition.

One week before Christmas

Luke Conway is about to be released from the hospital, but he can’t go home. He needs care. The case worker hinted at Ellie to take him in until he is better. Ellie refuses.

After Luke is allowed to visit with his children at the hospital, Danni misses her father so badly after they go back to Ellie’s, she cries for an entire day and through the night.

Ellie calls her friend Gage Landon, who knows Luke. Gage assures Ellie that Luke is one of the most honest and above board men in town.

Ellie relents and allows Luke to move into her home until he has recovered from his injuries from the accident, with one condition. The police must visit at least once a day to check on them, unannounced.

Excerpt: Ellie visits her mom in the nursing home.

Ellie turned corners down each hallway toward her mom’s room, avoiding walkers, wheel chairs and patients in search of their rooms or fighting to take up residence in someone else’s room.

Orange cones lined one section of the hall and the entrance to a room two doors from her mom’s room. A weary housekeeper pushed a wide heavy mop across the floor, then plopped it into the lavender scented water to rinse and begin again. She looked up as Ellie approached.

“Watch your step, ma’am, the floor is wet.” She shoved a strand of hair from her face and blew upward with her bottom lip. “Wouldn’t want you to fall.”

“Thank you, I’ll be okay.” The scent was pleasant and reminded Ellie of the cut flowers her mom always arranged in a beautiful bouquet in the hallway of her home. Viola Rand had the same green thumb all the Rand women had inherited. Ellie had also inherited the Rand’s green thumb. Her mom had taught her the pleasure of growing flowers and vegetables. Memories of her mom in the garden were vivid and bittersweet.

How easy it would be to turn and run out the door, never to return. But then her mom would be in the same situation as many of the other patients were. There were plenty of lonely and forgotten souls, and she refused to allow her mom to become another statistic.

As she approached her destination, the thought she was fortunate to still have her mom, racked her saddened state of mind, and the more anxious she became. The visits always filled her with dread too. That dread included what condition her mom would be in today.

She wanted her mom back, but realized she couldn’t change the past or see into the future.

The tiny figure she called mom, sat enveloped by a lavender blanket in a recliner, her legs crossed in front of her and next to her heart, she embraced a baby doll wrapped in the same color blanket.

The devastating separation hit Ellie all over again as she reminded herself her mom no longer recognized her as a daughter. The blank stare on her mom’s face and the empty eyes…her once beautiful, sparkling hazel eyes, was more than she could endure. For once, she was glad her dad wasn’t here to witness his beloved wife’s condition.

Ellie squeezed back tears, walked to her mom, wrapped her arms around the thin shoulders, then hugged her tight, unable to let her go. Her mom shrugged her aside. In sorrow, but yet still hopeful, Ellie gazed into those dull, vacant hazel eyes, searched for recognition, but found none. Nothing. It was as though Ellie no longer existed in her mom’s memory. No. It wasn’t as though her mom recognized her. She didn’t.

Sadly, once her mom’s Alzheimer’s advanced to a certain stage, Ellie’s existence and her mom’s memory had deteriorated. Again, Ellie bit back a sob and covered her mom’s hands with hers, then slowly turned them over and memorized each vein and crease.

Those hands, that had with love, accomplished so many tasks for her family…those hands that had protected her from harm. One day they would be no more.

Her mom focused on the door with a longing and spoke in a monotone expression without acknowledging Ellie. “I’m waiting for my daughter.” She tilted her head and stared up at Ellie. “Do you know my daughter?”

Ellie wrapped her arms around her mom’s shoulders again. “Mom, it’s me. It’s Ellie…your daughter. I miss you,” she whispered into her soft silver hair.

Oh, Mom. Where are you? Where have you gone? I need to talk to you.

Grief stricken tears trickled down Ellie’s face and onto her crisp white blouse for the mom she’d already lost. For the mom who would never recover from her horrendous disease. Yet deep inside her mom’s brain, Ellie knew she somehow recalled she had a daughter.

She simply couldn’t position reason enough together to pull up the memory.

 

Please check out my other books, available at Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Kobo, and Apple. http://caroldevaney.weebly.com/my-books.html

I wish you Butterflies, Music and Love…

 

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Destination Planes, Trains & …

It’s field trip Friday!

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Although I live in Chicagoland, we are not heading toward the city!

Say what? Aren’t all the best attractions located somewhere close to the Chicago city limits?Screen Shot 2017-06-22 at 9.19.50 AM.png

Nope!

So slam on the brakes, lay down a strip of rubber, and reset your Navi system because we’re headed out to Volo, Illinois. And for a good reason.

If you followed my last post, you know my one and only son is about to fly the coop. Here’s how I see this spreading-of-the-wings thing going down: Destination Iowa State. Destination any-Formula-One-engineering internship/co-op. Destination…video chat with Mom and Dad…

IMG_5634.JPGSo, this summer we’re making the most of our time together before University move-in day comes. If you’ve figured out that my son loves fast vehicles, well anything with an engine really, then this day of fun will come as no surprise. And it is a full day, with pole barn after pole barn filled with cars. Vintage cars. Muscle cars. Fast cars. Cars for sale.

There is so much to see—planes, snowmobiles, bikes, submarines, just to name a few. With a thirty minute guided train tour, plenty of food and drink, and antique shopping also on site, there’s a little something for everyone at the Volo Auto Museum.

Here are some of my favorite pictures from our visit…

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Are these photos bringing back any memories?

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No museum would be complete without a Star Wars exhibit!

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You should definitely visit the Batmobile in honor of Adam West!

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For more information you can check out the museum’s website Volo Car Museum. I am not affiliated in any way with this museum. I just enjoyed our day and wanted to share.

Got a favorite destination you like to visit when you’re not writing? Post it below. I’d love to hear about it.

 

🙂

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Time to CELEBRATE!

When events come, they come like an engorged river. Fast, furiously paced, and powerful.river

2017-06-09 20.29.12Two weeks ago, our son graduated from High School. He’d been taking classes at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee for the entirety of his senior year, after his two morning classes at his High School, so he’s been straddling adulthood for awhile. He’s remarkably good at it – let’s just say better than his mom did when she started college at seventeen.

He’s eighteen now, so that happened as well.

Our daughter got engaged on a trip to Greece with her now fiancé. My husband and I will be celebrating our 30th Anniversary next month, and he’s having a birthday that matches the speed limit for most rural communities. Our food business, Macski’s Highland Foods, just celebrated its 5th Anniversary.

WOW!

Decades of marriage and two wonderful children. Where did the beginning of the middle of our lives go?

2017-06-21 06.21.45I sit with photos of our family, old poems, and cards and ribbons for jobs well done plastered to my bedroom door, and I smile at Susan’s blog and the photo of the most recent birthday card her daughter made for her.

Life is a series of photos, cards, poems, and memories. While I’m a little whistful, regarding the ones from when our children were young, I am enjoying every moment with them now.

I’m also looking forward to what I’m sure will be a grand adventure with my best friend – the man I love with my whole heart.V&M

Let’s see what the next 30 bring….

Leigh

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Best Birthday Present Ever

IMG_3338One of my seven-year-old twins made me this card for my birthday last week. I love it. I don’t need anything more than this.

Life as a working mom of three young girls can be overwhelming. I’m always playing catch-up, trying my best to keep up with the demands but seemingly still falling short.

Sure, I know I’m important to my kids – but when one of them takes the time to tell me, it means the world.

On the weekend, I remarked to my other twin that she looked cute in a picture I’d taken. She looked at me and said, “You’re cute and brave and strong.”

“Like Wonder Woman!” I joked.

She agreed wholeheartedly.

I don’t see myself as any of those things. But there it is, the reward for all my hard work and sacrifice as a mother – I get to be Wonder Woman in someone’s eyes.

That’s pretty amazing.

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Fun Summer Read ~ Raine English

If you’re looking for a fun, sweet read this summer, then you’re going to love WEDDING PETS & KISSES, a multi-author boxed set consisting of New York Times, USA Today, and National Bestselling authors. My contribution to the set is A LITTLE ROMANCE.

When Taylor Wayne agrees to help out at Doggie Town daycare, so her sister can have the wedding and honeymoon she’s always dreamed of, Taylor has no idea the mayhem that’s in store for her. The first day on the job, a rambunctious French bulldog escapes while under her care,and the dog’s handsome owner blames her. Can Taylor find the dog and redeem herself in the eyes of the guy who just might be Mr. Right?

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Wedding Pets & Kisses is available at Amazon for $0.99!

 

 

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