Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Women's Network Book Signing

Thanks to all the women who attended the Women's Network session today at SAIC - and for purchasing your copies of A Soul Less Broken. It was such a pleasure meeting all of you!
It was also an honor to be a co-presenter with Ann Bergeson! For anyone out there who is interested in working with a Life Coach, here is the link to Ann's website:  Soul Synergy Coaching

Monday, November 15, 2010

Now on Borders.com

Excited to see that A Soul Less Broken is finally available on Borders.com now!

Friday, November 5, 2010

First Speaking Engagement & Book Signing

I'm very excited to announce that I'll be doing my first speaking engagement/book signing in two weeks on November 17th for a San Diego women's networking group. I will be a co-speaker along with another very talented woman, Ann Bergeson who is a certified life coach. We will be talking about what it takes to set and achieve goals.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

I Love Hearing from Readers!

From Jan Whitworth (via the Guestbook on my website):

If a book could be rated from 1 to 100 stars this one would be 100. Thank You. You are a wonderful writer and I so look forward to your next book.

Jan, thank you so much for your comments! And I have begun work on the sequel so stay tuned!
 

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Another Reader Reaction

More positive feedback from a reader named Lori C (via email) - she says she loved A Soul Less Broken and has been recommending it - she doesn't want to loan out her copy because it's signed! Lori - I'm so grateful for your comments! Thank you for helping to spread the word!



Tuesday, September 14, 2010

More Reader Reactions...

Deanna Hall had this to say via Facebook:

"I finished A Soul Less Broken on Friday. I highly recommend it but you will have a hard time putting it down and want to read from start to finish in one sitting! I thoroughly enjoyed it."

Monica Smith had this to say via email:

 
"I read the book this weekend! I couldn’t put it down. I think you definitely need to do a sequel! I need to hear more about their relationship. They finally got together and the book ended! And yes, I cried. I want to know if they adopt the little girl and live happily ever after!"

Deanna and Monica, thank you so much for your comments! Hearing what my readers think of the book is so touching. I continue to be humbled and overwhelmed with gratitude for how well A Soul Less Broken is being received.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Making a Difference

To all my current & future readers of A Soul Less Broken - you will be helping to make a difference! 10% of the profits from the sale of the book will be donated to charities related to violence against women and brain cancer. When the specific charities are chosen, I'll update you with the details. In the meantime, continue to spread the word and tell your friends & family to purchase A Soul Less Broken - the more books that are sold, the sooner it will be profitable and the sooner we can start making a difference! Thanks for your support!


September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

Its hard enough to deal with the idea of adults being diagnosed with cancer ... but imagine being the parent of a child and hearing that diagnosis being given for them? Imagine being the child and how frightening it must be. September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, and while the character in A Soul Less Broken that battles brain cancer is an adult, I wanted to draw my readers to these statistics about childhood cancers:
  • Approximately 12,400 children under the age of 20 are diagnosed with cancer each year.
  • About one in 300 boys and one in 333 girls will develop cancer before the age of 20. (The distribution of boys and girls diagnosed varies by type of childhood cancer.)
  • The incidence of childhood cancer peaks in the first year of life. Neuroblastoma is the most common type of infant cancer (28%), followed by leukemias (17%) and central nervous system cancers (13%). Germ cell and soft tissue tumors were each about 6%.
  • Incidence is also higher for children ages 15-19. The most common types of cancers in ages 15-19 are Hodgkins disease 16.1%, Germ Cell Tumors 15.2%, Central Nervous System Tumors 10%, Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma 7.6%, Thyroid Cancer 7.2%, Malignant Melanoma 7%, and Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia 6.4%.
  • The types of cancer most often found in young children (neuroblastoma, Wilms tumor, retinoblastoma, ependymoma, and hepatoblastoma) are very uncommon in adolescents (ages 15-19).
  • High grade brain tumors, like the type referenced in A Soul Less Broken, Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBMs), are the most common lethal tumors in adults, but also occur in children. Due to the location of the tumor, these patients may have seizures and significant paralysis at the time of diagnosis. As with adults, the treatment involves surgery (if operable), chemotherapy, and radiation. Fewer than 1 out of 3 children with these tumors become survivors.
The information listed above was provided by Cure Search for Children's Cancer. To learn more or make a donation, please visit their website.

Friday, September 10, 2010

My Hope for Readers

I realize now why I'm so moved by my readers' reactions to A Soul Less Broken. It is my greatest hope that even though they've read a fictional novel, that each of my readers will come away from the story feeling inspired, empowered, and strong enough to tackle whatever challenges they may be facing. I hope that each reader realizes, possibly for the first time, that no matter what is going on in their life, no matter how bad it may seem, they still have a choice in how they respond. And I hope they realize that they do have a chance for love in their life, even if they believe it has long ago passed them by. Love is out there for everyone - sometimes we just have to let it in. That is my hope for all my readers...

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Latest Reactions from Readers...

Jennifer Johnson had this to say via email:

I got the book and I stayed up late last night and finished it! Cat's story is SO compelling. I considered stopping half way through, but I just had to know how things turned out for her. Her strength is inspiring. Thank goodness I don't share the attack with Cat, but we've all been through hard times and come out on the other side and I just found a lot I could relate to. Loved, loved, loved her friendship with Madeline and of course Alan. Also found comfort in knowing that Sam would be OK.

Lisa Granskie posted this on Facebook:

"It's very good!! Can't wait for the sequel.  Someone should make that into a movie!!"

Thanks Jennifer and Lisa - so glad you liked it! Hearing your feedback almost makes me want to do a cartwheel ... I say "almost" because unlike the girl in the photo, I'm afraid my own attempt at doing a cartwheel would probably be quite tragic ... lol

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Help Victims of Sexual Violence

Please click on the link below and Vote to help RAINN receive a $250,000 grant from Pepsi. RAINN provides free, live, online crisis help to victims of sexual violence. You will have to give some basic information when you vote the first time, but it's a worthy organization! For those that read my blog, you know that I have done several posts referencing RAINN. The voting goes through Sept 30th and you can vote once a day! Thanks!
VOTE FOR RAINN

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Sunday, August 29, 2010

A Humbling Reaction

Recently a reader's husband shared his wife's reaction to A Soul Less Broken via a post on my Facebook page. I was humbled and touched by how the story affected her:

“Gisele was in tears during the second half of the book. She loved it and can't wait for the next one. Your book really touched her."

It is always gratifying to hear that readers are enjoying your work as much as you hoped they would! Thank you for sharing!


Saturday, August 28, 2010

Sharing the Dream

I had the pleasure of spending some quality time today with Kimberly, a wonderful woman with her own dream of being published. She has such an inspiring vision and powerful message for helping women, it was exciting to get a glimpse of her dream and to share with her what I know about the world of publishing. In addition to the book she's writing for women, she also is writing a children's book! It was such an honor that she shared her vision with me - I feel so grateful that living my dream has helped in some small way to inspire her - at the end of the day, that's what it's really all about! Mark my words, in the not-so-distant future, we will have another published author in our midst. Kimberly, just keep plugging away a little every day, and never stop believing in yourself, your talent, and your dream! Every time you look in the mirror see a published author! It is closer than you think!

Friday, August 27, 2010

A Simple but Profound Message

If we are all quiet enough and willing to listen, God can speak to us in very simple ways, in the most unexpected surroundings. Much like Elizabeth Gilbert in Eat Pray Love when she heard a very quiet voice tell her to "go back to bed", my message came while I was driving in my car a couple of days ago. As I was driving I was consumed with overwhelming feelings of gratitude for A Soul Less Broken being published and the incredible support I have received from everyone. And all of a sudden, there was that "still small voice within" speaking to me. It sounded like my own voice actually, just very quiet, almost as though it was a whisper, and it said "I'm glad you finally believe in yourself as much as I always have." So everyone, believe in yourself and allow the blessings that you deserve to come into your life!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Printed Word

Very exciting day - received my author-proof copies of A Soul Less Broken! I am officially PUBLISHED! Somebody pinch me, I think I'm dreaming... thank you to everyone who helped make this possible!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

You Can Now PRE-ORDER Your Signed Copy!

Let me first start by saying that creating your own website is no easy task, so I apologize for how long it's taken me to get mine launched (I have a new and deep appreciation for web developers!). But at long last the website for A Soul Less Broken is finally live! Here’s some of what you can do from the site:
  • Read an Excerpt
  • Pre-Order your Signed Copy before its available on Amazon or Barnes & Noble.com
  • Get updates on any news about the Book
  • Follow the Book (and me) on Twitter and Face Book
  • Leave Comments in the Guest Book
Please pass this along to others you know who may be interested - feel free to tweet about it on your Twitter page or post about it on your Face Book page. The success of A Soul Less Broken wouldn’t be possible without all of you! Thank you so much for your support throughout this process! I've already had several people tell me they want a sequel so I guess I better get busy writing!


 

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Trust Your "Gut"

How many times have you gotten that sinking feeling in your stomach right before you were about to do something or say something ... that feeling where deep down you knew you probably shouldn't do it (or say it) but you did anyway ... And how many times did you regret not listening to the warning from that "still small voice within"? I would be willing to bet that it was most of the time. I know for myself, without fail, every time I have ignored that nagging feeling in the pit of my stomach, or that thought in my head "I probably shouldn't do this" I have always regretted it. You can call it whatever you like - Intuition, Divine Guidance, A Higher Power, God ... but whatever you call it, it is a humble voice... it doesn't clammer loudly to be heard ... it very quietly bids for our attention, almost like a shy child tugging on our pant leg trying to get us to listen. It is often so subtle that it can be easy to ignore.  But if Catherine in A Soul Less Broken had listened to her own intuition, she could have saved herself from a brutal attack. The key for all of us, is to get more in tune with our own inner guidance and to listen to it rather than ignore it. Because unlike our own "well laid plans" our inner guidance always has our highest and best interest at heart. Getting in tune is actually simple and easy to do with daily meditation or prayer. You don't have to spend hours in meditation or reflection with God ... just take a few minutes to say "I'm ready to listen" and then start paying attention ... especially when you get that hollow feeling in the bottom of your stomach - it doesn't always mean that you need some Pepto-Bismal - sometimes it means you just need to listen.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Ready... Set... GO!

The internal text & layout has been approved and now the cover design is finished as well. Printed copies should be available some time in mid-August. I will have my author website up very shortly and on it you will have the opportunity to pre-order your copy of A Soul Less Broken before it's even available on Amazon or Barnes & Noble.com. And, all pre-ordered copies will be personally signed by me. So stay tuned for the website launch. Thank you everyone for your support and continued patience as we all anxiously await the book's final release! This has definitely been a labor of love!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Save Them From Themselves

So in a previous post, I made reference to a topic that was "for a different post on a different day". Well... this is the day and this is the post. Even though the attack on the character in A Soul Less Broken is not the result of alcohol, this is a topic that has weighed heavy on my mind for a long time now.

I am gravely concerned about the increasing number of young women who choose to become so intoxicated that they place themselves at risk for being sexually assaulted. I hear the general details about these cases time and time again. Women who drink so much, in a public setting like a party or a bar, that they actually pass out and either wake up in the middle of being raped or realize the next morning that something terrible happened the night before. Now, before I say anything else, let me go on record as saying, none of this justifies or condones the horrible, predatory, criminal behavior of the men who take advantage of these women, and these men should all be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. But we have to ask ourselves ... why are some women willing to put themselves in such a dangerous position? In truth, they are playing Russian Roulette with their own bodies. They are certainly risking alcohol poisoning which can be deadly. And they are leaving themselves incredibly vulnerable for being sexually violated, often by people they know, sometimes by people who claimed to be their friends. I just don't understand how a whole generation of women has lost their own self respect and self esteem to the point where they would put themselves at such risk ... not just the risk of the sexual assault itself, but the insuing humiliation and character assassination that they will be subjected to at the hands of the defense attorneys. What these women don't realize, but quickly discover, is that the men involved almost always claim that "it was consensual". Since the women often can't remember what happened, it becomes difficult, if not impossible, to prove that it wasn't. And the defense attorneys are fully prepared to paint a less-than-flattering picture of these women in order to place that "reasonable doubt" in the minds of the jury. Oh yes, these women have to testify in front of a jury. As if the attack itself wasn't bad enough, they then have to watch as their personal character is sliced open and dissected. Suddenly these women find themselves having to prove that they really were victims.

Granted, the media isn't helping ... young women are bombarded with reality shows and commercials that portray women "partying" and "getting drunk" as being funny and cool. Some commercials even go so far as to portray young women being drunk and sexually promiscuous as though it was a good thing (think Girls Gone Wild). And on top of that, people are making money off of it. This turns my stomach. I hope you find it equally revolting.

We need to reach out to the young women we know to get the message out about just how dangerous this type of behavior is. We need to pull these women back from the brink, back from the edge of the metaphorical cliff they are standing on. Somehow we need to save them from themselves.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Happy July 4th!

As I wait for the final (I hope) edits to come back from the publisher for A Soul Less  Broken, the next area that needs my attention is my author website. So I'll be working on that feverishly over the next week or two. For now, I just want to wish everyone a very happy and safe July 4th!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Horseshoes & Hand-Grenades

Reviewed the latest proof and made what were hopefully the last edits to the manuscript - sent them off to the publisher ... so we are getting even closer. Okay ... I realize that "close" only counts in horseshoes & hand-grenades, but we are still getting closer none-the-less! I should have the final proof to view by July 9th and once I give them the official sign-off, printing will take about a month. So the release date could be as early as the end of August ... stay tuned!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Courage Under Fire

I’ve heard it said that the definition of courage is “doing what you know is right even when you are afraid.” There are the obvious examples of people who display courage every day - soldiers, police officers, firemen, rescue workers, etc. But there is another group of people who display a very different type of courage and those are the women who come forward to report being victims of sexual assault. Statistics show that the majority of rape cases involve attackers that the victim either knows or has just met (often referred to as “date rape” or “acquaintance rape”). The numbers of surprise attacks known as “stranger rape”(what Catherine endures in A Soul Less Broken) are significantly lower.

Unfortunately, the statistics also show that in many cases, the women who have been victims of acquaintance rape have impaired judgment at the time of the attack, either from the attacker slipping drugs into their drinks or simply because they have consumed excessive alcohol on their own (which is a different topic for a different post on a different day). Either way, the attacker takes full advantage of the woman’s extreme vulnerability. In these situations, the women often feel ashamed, and reporting the attack becomes very humiliating. The legal tactic for the defense team is to attack the woman’s character, life-style, and morals. So as if being raped by someone she knows and then reporting it wasn’t humiliating enough, the woman now feels as though she is suddenly the one on trial. And yet, every day across America these women are coming forward and reporting the crimes against them, fully prepared to push through their fears and endure the almost certain humiliation that awaits them. We rarely hear about these courageous women in the news, they are seldom praised for their bravery. But in almost every case, even though the women want justice for themselves, ultimately what drives them to come forward is that they want to prevent their attacker from ever victimizing any one else. They do what they know is right, even when they are afraid. We should all be inspired by the courage it takes for these women to come forward.
If you have been the victim of a sexual assault and haven’t yet reported it, please let these women inspire you. And if you, or someone you know needs help please use the RAINN resources found here.

Monday, June 14, 2010

We're Getting Closer!

I just submitted the copy-edit (round one) for A Soul Less Broken to my publisher. Boy does that feel good! So we're getting closer! But for now, I'm going to get a few hours of sleep!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Betrayed by Your Own Body

The statistical information about brain tumors is certainly important, but I want to touch on the personal side for a moment. The courageous souls who have suffered with all types of cancer must have felt at some point betrayed by their own bodies, probably even taken hostage. And no one feels that more than brain cancer patients. While the diagnosis of cancer and the resulting symptoms are devastating regardless of the type of cancer, people suffering with malignant brain tumors must deal with the reality that their particular cancer inhabits and affects the epicenter of not only their body, but the core of who they are. And until each of us encounters a sudden problem with the functioning of our brain, we take for granted all that the brain controls.

Put yourself in their shoes for a moment and imagine that you suddenly experience:

• Becoming paralyzed
• No longer knowing what you are doing within your own environment (your consciousness)
• No longer being in control your emotional responses
• Not remembering simple habits or how to do simple things (like walking or eating or brushing your teeth)
• Not being able to plan a sequence of movements needed to complete a task (like making coffee)
• Drastic changes in your personality
• Not being able to do basic problem solving
• Difficulty with eye-hand coordination
• Difficulty drawing objects or writing
• Not being able to distinguish left from right
• Lack of awareness of body parts
• Trouble with your vision – imagine not being able to SEE
• Not being able to recognize words or objects
• Not being able to recognize colors
• Visual hallucinations
• Trouble hearing – imagine not being able to HEAR
• Trouble with short-term memory (what you had for breakfast or where you were yesterday)
• Difficulty recognizing faces
• Problems with long-term memory (WHO people are, your LIFE history)
• Difficulty breathing, swallowing
• Uncontrolled problems with blood pressure and temperature
• Sleep problems
• Dizziness
Difficulty talking and forming words
• Loss of ability to walk, or difficulty with balance
• Tremors
• Trouble reaching out and grabbing objects
My heart goes out to the people who have had brain tumors and the suffering (both physical & emotional) that they and their families have endured.

For more information click here: Centre for Neuro Skills

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Take Cover

I've just seen the draft of the full cover (front, back, and spine) for A Soul Less Broken and it truly exceeds all my expectations. My son never ceases to amaze me with his talent for designing all things graphic. His skill certainly makes me look good! I'm very grateful for all his help. I can't wait for all of you to see it when it's finished, so stay tuned!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Down the Rabbit Hole

Anyone who has done any writing, especially a manuscript, knows that the process of editing, re-editing, and editing again can seem very much like the rabbit hole in Alice in Wonderland ... never ending! But my commitment to my readers is to deliver the best novel possible, and so I'm diving into A Soul Less Broken with fine-tooth comb in hand for round two. I'll let you know when I come up for air!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Book Progress Update

A Soul Less Broken has now made it through the first phase of interior layout and typesetting. It's very exciting to see how it actually looks in chapter format. Now its time for another "fine-tooth comb" copy edit. Many thanks to Kathy who is graciously proof-reading it with me - she has an eagle-eye for detail and I'm very grateful for her help. It's getting closer to the finished product - can't wait to share it with all of you! Thanks for your support!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Violence Against Women – Educating & Protecting Women

I believe it’s up to all of us to educate our young daughters, sisters, and friends about what they can do to help prevent being victims of a violent attack. To many of us, the tips listed below may seem like common sense, but don’t assume everyone realizes the danger they may be placing themselves in. If you haven’t already, share these tips with the young women in your life about ways they can protect themselves. The last two tips are especially important for our teens and college students who live and die by their iPods and cell phones (the last tip I added). If Catherine in A Soul Less Broken had followed these tips, she might not have found herself in the presence of evil:

Be aware of your surroundings. Knowing where you are and who is around you may help you to find a way to get out of a bad situation.

Try to avoid isolated areas. It is more difficult to get help if no one is around.

Walk with purpose. Even if you don’t know where you are going, act like you do.

Trust your instincts. If a situation or location feels unsafe or uncomfortable, it probably isn’t the best place to be.

Try not to load yourself down with packages or bags as this can make you appear more vulnerable.

Make sure your cell phone is with you and charged and that you have cab money.

Don't allow yourself to be isolated with someone you don’t trust or someone you don’t know.

Avoid putting music headphones in both ears so that you can be more aware of your surroundings, especially if you are walking alone.

Avoid talking on a cell phone if you are walking alone. It prevents you from being fully aware of your surroundings.

Info provided by The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network is the nation's largest anti-sexual assault organization. RAINN operates the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1.800.656.HOPE and the National Sexual Assault Online Hotline at rainn.org, and publicizes the hotline's free, confidential services; educates the public about sexual assault; and leads national efforts to prevent sexual assault, improve services to victims and ensure that rapists are brought to justice.

For more information, please click here.

Friday, May 21, 2010

More About Brain Tumors

Since May is Brain Tumor Awareness Month, I wanted to offer some more details about the specific type of tumor that one of the characters suffers with in A Soul Less Broken:

Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM) - Grade IV
  • Pronounced GLEE-OH-Blast-oma
  • GBM tumors arise from astrocytes - star-shaped cells which form the supportive, glue-like substance of the brain.
  • These tumors represent 20% of all primary brain tumors.
  • When a tumor diagnosis is given, the tumor is graded from I to IV. The grade is based on how normal or abnormal the cancer cell appear under a microscope. Grade IV tumors appear very abnormal and are always classified as "high grade" tumors for that reason.
  • GBMs are generally found in the cerebral hemispheres, but technically can be found anywhere in the brain or spinal cord.
  • GBMs are capable of very rapid growth.
  • The first symptoms are usually due to increased pressure in the brain and usually present as headaches, seizures, memory loss, and changes in behavior.
  • GBMs commonly contain a mix of cell types, and while one cell type may be responsive to treatment, other types may be resistant.
  • Every year, approximately 5 out of every 100,000 Americans are diagnosed with GBMs.
For 37 years, the American Brain Tumor Association (ABTA) has provided critical funding to researchers working toward breakthroughs in brain tumor diagnosis, treatment and care, with the ultimate goal of finding a cure. The ABTA is also the recognized resource for comprehensive, up-to-date information and compassionate support for the brain tumor patients, families and caregivers who are living with this disease.

To donate or make your voice heard on important brain tumor initiatives click here.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Power of Gratitude

So you’ve decided you want to make a different choice in how you react in a given situation. You’ve even gotten yourself to the point where you’re willing to let go of that heated anger, or that depressing sadness. Now what? You’re still left with a void where those depleting emotions used to be. Well, there's good news and there's bad news. The bad news is that the void isn’t going to magically fill itself with something more positive (unless you happen to see a commercial for Purina Puppy Chow filled with adorable I’ve-Got-To-Pick-You-Up-And-Squeeze-You puppies, but even that will only last a moment or two). So how do you fill the empty space that was once your angry heart? The good news is that it's actually, relatively easy and it comes down to one word … gratitude. The key is to find one thing, anything that you can truly be grateful for. Trust me, I do understand that there will be days when this will be easier than others, but if you’re really honest with yourself and truly willing to give up feeling like a victim, then unless you’re dead or in coma, you probably can find something to be grateful for. This is not meant in any way to minimize the pain that you may have been feeling, or the trauma you may have suffered. The point is to help you navigate to the other side and gratitude will get you there. Maybe the only thing you can think of to be grateful for is that you’re breathing. I guarantee you someone out there with emphysema is envious of your ability to take a deep breath. Or maybe the only thing you can be grateful for is that you have eyes that can read this blog. A blind person can only dream of doing that. You see where I’m going with this. Just commit to yourself that for the entire day you will continue to look for reasons to be grateful. The magical thing about gratitude is that it multiplies easily (much like rabbits in the dark). Once you shift your focus away from dwelling on the negative and look for reasons to be grateful, you will find more and more evidence that you have a lot to be thankful for. That’s just how gratitude works. And before you know it, that void that once housed dark and negative emotions, is suddenly filled with joy and a grateful heart. Catherine, our central character in A Soul Less Broken had to learn this too. She also had to grab onto something, anything, no matter how small it seemed at the time, in order to get her up and over that hurdle.

Now, on a personal note, while we’re on the subject of gratitude I would be quite remiss if I didn’t mention the surprise that awaited me last night when I got home and the very special man who made it happen. Unbeknownst to me, my husband had ordered the matching earrings to go with the necklace (that’s on the cover of the book) and the tiny box arrived in the mail yesterday. I was absolutely delighted when I opened them, thanking him profusely. He just stood there with a very wide grin and stated quite matter-of-factly “Well, you had to have the matching set.” Bless his heart. That is one thing about my husband he never ceases to amaze me. Over our many years together he has surprised me countless times. And while I’m very grateful for all the things he has surprised me with, I’m most grateful for him.

So what can you find in your life that you can be grateful for?

Sunday, May 16, 2010

The Power of Letting Go

So what about those times when we are so entrenched in what we feel is being done “to” us that it seems impossible to “choose” how we are going to react? Sometimes it actually feels good to be that angry or even that sad. We find ourselves clinging to those feelings. We tell ourselves we’re “justified” and we have “the right” to feel that way. We mount a campaign to gather evidence in support of being less than happy. We often have friends and family spurring us on. But eventually we find ourselves at a crossroads, after a time we hunger for more than the emptiness that comes with negative emotions. Some people choose to dig in and become even angrier or even more engulfed in sadness, because for them they have held on to their anger or sadness for such a long time, they may not even remember what it feels like to actually be happy. As strange as it sounds, staying upset can be easier than choosing happiness because at least there is a certain degree of familiarity.  For those folks, choosing happiness can feel like stepping off a cliff into the great unknown.

But for those of us who are “sick and tired and being sick and tired” and who really do want to change how we’re feeling, how do we go about making that choice? How do you just stop being angry or stop being sad? The first step sounds incredibly simple but it is anything but. The first step is being willing to let go; to let go of all the reasons we have for being angry; let go of all the evidence we’ve gathered supporting why we should be sad. Sometimes it means letting go of being right.

The central character in A Soul Less Broken eventually does grow weary of being a slave to her feelings and she must let go.

What do you have that you’re holding on to that stands between you and being happy? Are you willing to let it go?

Friday, May 14, 2010

The Power to Choose

One of the most challenging lessons facing all of us in life is realizing that at any given moment, in any given situation we still have a choice. No matter what is being "done to us" or how others are "making us feel", we still can choose how we react, and how we respond. We can either choose to be a victim, giving our emotional power away allowing others to control our happiness, or we can take a stand and decide that today is the day we are the ones in control of our emotions.

Granted, no one said that such an education was easy to aquire, or to practice - quite the contrary. The central character in A Soul Less Broken must discover this and it is hands down one of the hardest lessons any of us will ever face. But its also the one that will give us the most peace.

One of the stories I had heard years ago, that inspires me to this day, was an interview with a woman who had been attacked in Central Park while she was jogging. It was a vicious, brutal attack, one that she almost didn't survive; it was clear that her attacker had left her for dead. But inspite of these circumstances and all her suffering, she remained amazingly positive. The interviewer asked her, "How is it, after what he did to you, that you aren't bitter? How do you not go through life hating the man that did this to you?" And the woman replied, "That man took one night of my life. I refuse to give him any more."

So the next time someone or something "makes you mad" or "makes you upset" try to remember that you still can choose again. Maybe not right then in the moment, but when you're ready, you can choose a different reaction, one that serves you better, one that helps you feel more at peace. You can take your power back.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Necklace

When you read A Soul Less Broken you'll understand the significance of the necklace that appears on the cover. In the meantime, here is some fun trivia about how it came to be. When I wrote that passage in the book I had a very specific image in my mind of what the necklace would look like. And lo and behold, one day online I actually found it. When I stumbled across the necklace I couldn't believe my eyes - it looked exactly how I had imagined it. Seeing it was a little bit eerie actually.


Since I firmly believe that there is no such thing as "coincidence" and that it must be divine intervention, I immediately purchased the necklace. When I received it I sent a picture to my son to use when he designed the cover for the book. It was just meant to be! The necklace was created by a very nice woman with a business designing jewelry. Thanks Raquel!

The necklace comes in gold or silver and if you're interested in purchasing one or checking out her other items you can visit her site by clicking here.


  

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

May is Brain Tumor Awareness Month

One of the secondary characters in A Soul Less Broken suffers from a brain tumor. In my own life I was saddened by the passing of a friend & coworker who lost his battle with brain cancer in 2006. He was only in his early forties when he passed away. What amazed me in doing research for the book was how common this condition actually is. Here is some information that you may find surprising:

  • Currently there are over 600,000 people in the US living with a primary brain tumor.
  • Each year approximately 210,000 people in the US will be diagnosed with a primary or metastatic brain tumor. That is over 575 people a day. (Primary is a tumor originating in the brain only, metastatic is cancer that spreads from other parts of the body to the brain).
  • Metastatic brain tumors are six-times more common than primary tumors.
  • There are over 120 different types of brain tumors, making effective treatment very complicated.
  • The most common symptoms of a brain tumor can include: headaches (that wake you up in the morning), seizures without a history of seizures, cognitive or personality changes, eye weakness, nausea or vomiting, speech disturbances and memory loss. What makes diagnosis challenging is that these symptoms are common in many other medical conditions beside brain tumors.

 Some Famous Brain Tumor Patients You May Recognize:

• Bob Marley (metastatic)

• Lance Armstrong (metastatic)

• Lou Rawls (metastatic)

• George Gerwin (primary)

• Frank Edward “Tug” McGraw (primary)

• Ted Kennedy (primary)

Much of the data listed above is available at the National Brain Tumor Society (NBTS), a non-profit organization, bringing together the best of research and patient services to be a comprehensive resource for patients, families, caregivers, researchers, and medical professionals. NBTS offers top-notch resources and caring support for everyone affected by brain tumors. They provide education & information to help patients, families, and caregivers make informed decisions and develop strong support systems during every stage of the journey. 
If you would like to learn more or to make a donation, click here.

  

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Are You Living Your Dream?

Many of us dream of things we'd like to be, do, or experience. When we allow ourselves the luxury of playing in our dreams, even for a moment, it brings a smile to our face and joy to our heart. And yet, we often keep those dreams locked away - held prisoner by our own self-doubt. Believe me, I speak from experience - that's exactly what kept me from publishing A Soul Less Broken until now. Don't listen to that critic in your head telling you it's too hard, or it won't work, or you aren't smart enough... yada, yada, yada. At the end of the day, don't believe everything you think.

So, what if you started living your dream... right now... today...? It doesn't mean you have to quit your job and become a pauper, but you can begin today taking small steps toward making your dream a reality. And when you take action on building your dream you will feel energized and renewed. You'll be following your purpose. Remember, a journey of a thousand miles always begins with a single step.

So what's your dream?

Monday, May 10, 2010

Violence Against Women Statistics


As you’ll discover in A Soul Less Broken, the central character survives a brutal attack. And while the story is fiction, these alarming statistics are all too real:
  • 1 in 6 women have been victims of sexual assault.
  • College women are 4 times more likely to be victims.
  • 17.7 million American women have been victims of attempted or completed rape.
Victims of sexual assault are:
  • 3 times more likely to suffer from depression.
  • 6 times more likely to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.
  • 13 times more likely to abuse alcohol.
  • 26 times more likely to abuse drugs.
  • 4 times more likely to contemplate suicide.
Statistics provided by the Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network (RAINN). RAINN is the nation's largest anti-sexual assault organization. RAINN operates the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1.800.656.HOPE and the National Sexual Assault Online Hotline at rainn.org, and publicizes the hotline's free, confidential services; educates the public about sexual assault; and leads national efforts to prevent sexual assault, improve services to victims, and ensure that rapists are brought to justice.




Sunday, May 9, 2010

It's Finally Happening

After several years and three title changes, the book A Soul Less Broken is finally being brought to life. I can't wait to share it with all of you! It is being published by Wheatmark and right now the interior text layout is in the process of being formatted which takes about thirty days, then it will be time for one final proof before copies are printed. The release date will be sometime in late summer or early fall. It will be available direct through the publisher as well as Amazon and Barnes & Noble. The amazing cover artwork was designed by my son, Mike Harpin who is (as some of you know) a very talented designer of all things graphic. I feel very honored that he designed the cover. I think you'll agree that he did a beautiful job. And I want to thank my dear friend Rhonda Mazurek who took my portrait - if any of you need a fantastic portrait photographer you can view her work at Timeless Portraits by Rhonda. And lastly, I have to credit three people for inspiring me to finally get the book published: Mike, my son, for patiently saying (about once a year) "Mom, when are you going to publish your book?" and two women who are also published authors - Kathy Carroll, a wonderful friend & coworker who wrote Working Overtime, and Dana Fredsti a friend that I grew up with and whose most current book is called Murder For Hire - The Peruvian Pigeon. Thank you for inspiring me to finally get this done!