I love you anyway, you crazy broad.

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Motherhood is a lonely venture. Even knowing that there are thousands of moms out there, the fact remains. No one has exactly my personality or is married to my husband or has my children. No one is Me.

None of us can 100% relate to the mother next door.

And right now, it seems like people are happy for the moment when they get what they want, and that moment is quickly followed by another round of negotiating and bargaining. With little spurts of contrariness thrown in for good measure.

No one gets it. No one can really understand what it’s like. Not the husband when he is angry because you are short-tempered. Or the kids when you finally say, “I’m taking off for a couple hours. I need a break.”

And you think a break, a ladies night out or trip to the coffee shop, is going to fix it, but it’s really just that you wanted him to say, “I love you anyway, you crazy broad.”

#SaturdaySeven: The Marlboro Life

Last week, I posted a short video on Instagram. It mentioned a mug I have that I’ve had for years, which my husband and I “earned” through buying and smoking cigarettes. And then I spent a few days thinking about how much stuff we might still have. And I started digging. And this is what I found!!

  1. The Mug:

  2. The Ski Jacket: [for all those healthy, smoking skiers!]

  3. The Cookbook: [has really good recipes, though!]

  4. T-shirt

  5. T-shirt

    NOT PICTURED!

  6. Red Corduroy Pullover: [MIA but probably in a bin somewhere!]

  7. Ashtrays: more than one!!

And this is where I get to say… Don’t Smoke! It’s not like having that stupid credit card, just to earn money. It’s worse because you might actually die from cancer. You might think we stopped smoking because we turned health conscious. No. In about 2005, taxes on cigarettes shot the price of cigarettes from a mere 2-3 dollars to over 4 dollars. Yo. We were already poor and that was just a bit too ridiculous, even for us. As a matter of fact, Matt said, when this pack is gone, that’s it—no more. But then he found a half smoked pack in his truck…so he finished that one as well. :D It wasn’t until 6 years later that being healthy became a good idea. haha. It’s true though!! And my husband started it with his decision to join the military. [I followed suit a few…okay several…years later.]

Now we’re both glad we don’t smoke.

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#SaturdaySeven Facebook Interests

Somedays I find myself scrolling through Facebook…and occasionally, I find myself chuckling and laughing or even a bit mesmerized. For a wee bit this afternoon that happened to me. So I think I will show you a few things that caught my eye as I wasted….several minutes [or more]…scrolling through social media.

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This one made me laugh because I still recite the prayer I learned in 2nd grade…and only this year was I told that most adults don’t…they pray spontaneously, heartfelt offerings of apology, remorse, and change. LOL Well, not sure this is what they want, but I may try it.

Without being directly political, this one makes an interesting point. Why IS the government shut down?

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Hey…wait a minute!!

I shared this with my workout group. Sometimes, that medal is worth it!!

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Speaking of the workout group… this image from 2017 that came up on social media today made me very grateful for 2018 and how I changed my life around. Sometimes we need that reminder. Not me so much…. but it is a funny thing to realize and know that no one who meets me right now will understand who I am. They might think I’ve always been a workout nutball. #dontforgetthepast

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Um, helloooo!! This is amazing book inspiration. I love every part of this…the famous brother, the pilot, the shadow he lives in. How do you really feel about this? Are you close? How can I make you suffer? <—All questions an author would ask herself. :D :D

So many truths. I think sometimes we experience these all at once. From both sides!! :D

I hope you enjoyed this third edition of #SaturdaySeven.

Read something!! Get off Facebook! And have a great weekend.

Beth

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#SaturdaySeven Blogging

I had an all day workshop to attend today, so here I am… after serving Little Caesar’s to the family for dinner, sitting down to post my Saturday Seven.

When attending training [of any kind], SEVEN thing you’ll learn:

  1. You might have a low tolerance for extra talking.

  2. You’ve become cynical in your old age!

  3. Laughing makes the time go by more quickly.

  4. Coffee [or caffeine] is a must…

  5. But go easy on the liquids because bathroom breaks only come occasionally.

  6. Sharing experiences and life makes a group grow fonder.

  7. YOU WILL EAT THE CHOCOLATES SPREAD OUT ON THE TABLE BEFORE YOU!!

If you’ve ever been to a conference or workshop, you know what I’m talking about, right? If you stop in to visit, let me know something you’ve learned while attending a workshop.

My kids start school this week, and I’m excited to get back into a routine. The Christmas break went too fast, but the kids are ready and quite bored! It’s a beautiful thing.

I’m looking forward to getting some writing done this week.

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With Love,

Beth

Open Distribution

If you visit the webpage, you’ll see this graphic on my books’ pages. If you visit my blog, you would have seen this graphic [with different words!] now gracing my header space. Don’t you love it? <3

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Click the image on the book you want to buy, and you will be linked to the Books2Read page for that book, where every retailer and link is available for you to purchase from. No third party sellers, just you and Apple Books or Barnes and Noble… And I still have links to Amazon as well, so if you’re sitting pretty with Amazon, click the Amazon button!

It’s a new year.

I’ve picked my first new book and it is the Michelle Obama book. Perhaps I’ll come back and share a bit of my thoughts on it when I’m done. :)

I’m guessing life is about to get back into full swing… the routines and busyness of life.

Enjoy it!

Beth

#SaturdaySeven Blogging

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Ever since Y2K [and for those of you too young to remember, think end of days. At the time, I lived in a small town in Ohio, and people were storing up toilet paper, canned goods, guns and ammo.

Every year since then, I have a moment before the new year where my imagination runs away from me, and I think, “Maybe it will happen this year.”

What if Y2K was the red herring?

What if computer systems everywhere shut down, imploded, or…decoded…or whatever it was they were likely to do when the calendar rolled over to 2000, THIS YEAR? In a way, my brain is giving me a nudge to live every day to the fullest. If this is my last day able to access the world through my computer…what would I do?

  1. Ration Insulin: [maybe I need to turn my auto-reorder back on and start stocking up!]

  2. Go find me a typewriter.

  3. Stock up on pencil and paper and those little pencil sharpeners.

  4. Send out an email to all my loved ones…

  5. Take all of the survey and Games that I usually avoid. Yes, I’m curious…but I usually just don’t have time and I know, practically, it’s a waste of my time.

  6. Collect addresses from friends who I’ve never met: you never know when the end of the world will create an opportunity to travel the country—by what little gas you have left and then by foot or bike! #lifetothefullest #VegasBaby

  7. Pull out that 100 year old coffee grinder, clean it, and sharpen those blades!

First ever #SaturdaySeven!! Getting a jump on the new year and wanting to keep up with blogging. Don’t hold me to it just yet… but it’s a start. If you want to join me, use the hashtag #SaturdaySeven. Leave me a link, and I’ll come visit your blog. #oldschoolblogging #whenbloggingwassocialmedia

This Year I...

Enriched my personal life.

I spent more time on me. You all know that story, so I won’t be long on it.

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Yesterday, my cousin asked me to recommend some books. And it happens every now and then, and usually my own personal rules are, Don’t Do It!! But he wanted it for his grandma…and seriously, you don’t say no to grandma…ya know?

So, I thought for a little bit, did a little research based on authors I know and love.

…and realized, I don’t read enough anymore to make recommendations.

Have I read a new release in the last few years? No.

Do I know any new authors since 1999? Aside from small press authors online, No.

Have I recommended a book recently that was published in this century? Not really.

I think maybe it’s time for me to focus on READING this year. Even my favorites are writing things I haven’t read…

That is all.

Happy Reading!!


The Balance

I would like to change my blog’s name and just call it The Balance. Mostly because it seems to hang in the balance!! But also because I feel, in this blog, I’m always searching for balance. The drive to write, the need for faith, the necessity for health,…it all becomes a balancing act, you know?

Part of me wants to become that crazy lady who exercises all the time…just going from gym to running to boxing to running and back to the gym, etc. I could blog about exercise and health and food and my discoveries…

Or I could blog about my faith and why it’s so important to me. And how I believe it’s supposed to be apparent and a part of every aspect of my life. But is it? I don’t know…

How can I write about it all? Do I reflect my real life in my characters? Is that enough? Or do I need to write a bit of nonfiction as well in order to satisfy all the parts of my life that want to have a say?

If there’s an answer, I don’t know what it is.

I have no focus. Writing book Five of my Hawk Elite Security Series has been like pulling teeth—not the 8 year old’s wiggly teeth, either. haha. However, that being said, I press on. I’m not one to be so spontaneous or impulsive that I think quitting is a good idea. I look ahead to change. I plan for the next move. I think about what I want, what God wants, and how to mesh those two.

My work is one of my greatest joys. I love my characters and watching them become amazing people. I love seeing them overcome adversity, find love and hope, and fulfill their dreams. These are the things God wants for us.

Life is hard to balance. So what?

Tomorrow is a new day.

And tomorrow I move: forward, backward, sideways…always choosing, always discerning, always trying to do what’s right. :) That’s my life…

Hanging in the Balance yet Firmly rooted in Purpose.

The Truth

Most of the times I hear a term like "an insider", I'm reading the back cover of a thriller novel or hearing that deep voice of the movie trailer announcer. So my brain started processing the term anew when I heard it this week about CSM Bolyard and his death in Afghanistan.

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In case you're curious, there's a weird balance maintained by military families during a time as trying as this. Morbid curiosity is a no-go...yet, we are all thinking about it. Why did it happen? How? Who of our friends are affected by such a horrible loss? 

I watch my friends cry.

I hug them, knowing their life will never be the same...because they have lost a friend, a husband, a colleague.

But I don't cry out there. I didn't know this hero. I have only heard about him secondhand or read about him online, like every one else. My tears come later, and they are for the greater loss that our country experiences every time we lose a member of our Armed Forces. They are for my husband who will be deployed again. For the Gold Star families who have already started rebuilding and moving on. 

The more I hear about CSM Bolyard... that he was 42, getting ready to retire, a family man...a true United States hero...

Killed by an insider. 

After reading that and thinking on it for a day, I finally asked my husband, "What does that mean? He was killed by one of our own?" Isn't that what insider means? Do I even want to know?

It means that someone, who our troops were there to help and train, came in and gave us the middle finger. [those aren't my husband's words; they are mine] CSM Bolyard is the 154th person killed by an insider attack since 2007.

I stared at my husband for a second and then asked, "Why are we even over there?" I know what this means now. It means that none of our soldiers are safe, ever. What 'friendly' will be the next to turn? In what month? At which Base? How can I let you go, knowing you might not come back?

"Politics." His words. "We train them. We give them arms; they take them and give them to ISIS." They don't understand the world like we do, with peace as an ending solution. They want us all dead.

"So, why are we over there?" I ask again. And he shrugs. He too struggles to understand such hate. Are we protecting innocence and freedom? Are we fighting the injustice of the world? For him, the answers are simpler. He serves his country; he demands a better life for his home and for the world. He wants women to be respected. He wants children to be loved. He wants the elderly to be honored. In every culture. And he wants peace... 

For me, the answers are wrapped up in emotions and turmoil and more questions. And tears. For my sister Army spouse, who suffers the loss. For our country, who has lost its focus and finds value in Political Correctness instead of Truth. 

And it makes me think about Truth. The truth of knowing our world will never see peace until we surrender to the God who created us all. Until every man, woman, and child knows the salvation of the cross, our world will suffer from sin.

And all we can do is get up in the morning and love one another. Be the light in a dark world. Share the burden of our loved ones. And pray. 

For Peace. For Change. For Life. 

Sending prayers for the Bolyard family. Timothy Bolyard, you and your family are in my calendar, and we will never forget. Rest in Peace.

With Love,

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On SALE this WEEKEND!

Well, I'm totally excited that SquareSpace has a new Campaign Feature. I've been using Mailchimp a long time, and after the permissions debacle of 2018, I'm just fed up with how much they are limiting my ability to put out meaningful content. When I want to. There is always a fluctuation in the newsletter part of the business. People join because they want a freebie, or maybe they sign up during a party in hopes of winning a prize. A month or so down the road, they'll unsubscribe. 

With every newsletter I put out, I gain a few and lose a few subscribers. And when I lose subscribers, Mailchimp tags that as a negative, or spam. No one likes losing subscribers, but it happens. Even I unsubscribe at times, especially when I'm just not interested in the topic anymore. 

I'm curious to see how the new feature over here develops. I've already had a great conversation with a Squarespace Rep about the feature and what I would want/need...like being able to send out a "thank you" after someone subscribes. And with the thank you, a copy of a digital book. It's in the works!  This stretches my brain and makes me think of alternative means of reaching my readers. Never a bad thing!! 

I'm 100% impressed with SquareSpace. I've been with them for a few years [or more?]. My sister recommended them to me. And I have not been sorry...not even one little time. Not even a smidge. Customer service and their reps are worth their weight in gold... and if one happens to be really skinny, maybe worth more than their weight in gold. 

Oh!! The SALE!! Right, so I created a campaign that I will send out tomorrow morning. And I put the entire Hawk Elite Security Series on sale. So, if you haven't, subscribe to my newsletter [this includes the list from Mailchimp, so if you signed up over there, you are signed up over here]. And then run over to Amazon and grab Strike Back for FREE and books two, three, and four for only $.99....or you could gift them! :D

Real Author Life

I hate to get on the snapshot social media of Facebook and brag. I know that seems silly...and people do like to cheer each other on, which is amazing in the world today, because we can also be so negative. Maybe that's a reason TO brag on Facebook.

However, I haven't quite made that hurdle to putting myself on center stage there without some kind of barrier, like a blog. 

2016, Proof Pic 1

2016, Proof Pic 1

And I'm here because...it's a long story. One that involves six kids, a husband who loves to run, type 1 diabetes, and me. Me: last year. [we both look a little goofy, eh?] I hate this picture, and when it was shot, I was annoyed at the photography because I let myself believe it was the angle of the photo, right? stupid, of course. 

I must have been a good 165 pounds in that photo. Not morbidly obese, but well-overweight and on my way to worse.

Jump ahead another year. [see photo below!]

Somehow I'd managed to loose a few, and then it became that I was just so sick of myself! I eat vegetables and fruit and healthy stuff...but I hadn't quite kicked the habit of picking up the sweets as well.  During this year, I read "Big Girls Do It Running," (link goes to the authors amazon page because i can't find the book), and I related to the author whose story it was. I remember the days when the diabetic diet was more about low fat than low carb, and we were eating Angel Food Cake because it was "good for us." Times have changed, thankfully!

2017, Proof Pic 2

2017, Proof Pic 2

And then, I made the decision to go to NYC for the ThrillerFest Convention. Late 2017, I paid my [whopping] fees, looked at myself, and asked, "Are you going to be the Fat Romance author at this event?" Which isn't very nice of me, at all. But, I was talking to myself and sometimes, you have to be a little mean with yourself, you know? I didn't want to be filling any stereotype or cliche. 

So, in January, at 158 pounds, I cut the sugars--alot. Not completely, but enough that I saw a few pounds drop right away. And then I saw an advertisement for a kickboxing class--free, at 5am. I didn't go right away. I had to get brave. What if I failed? What if it was just like the running I'd done over the years--unsuccessful and discouraging?

But I kept seeing it pop up in my FB newsfeed. So, finally...I went.

Day 1: Cardio Kickboxing: Death

Day 1: Cardio Kickboxing: Death

All I can say about that first day is:

I could do almost an entire push up. Maybe a few sit ups. And planks? No. Just no, no, no. My shoulders burned. My body was weak. WEAK! And then I went back. I started slow with two days the first week and three the second and third, finally bumping my attendance up to 4 times a week after that. And you know what? I got stronger.

And that's when I realized that I liked being strong. More than being skinny, I wanted to be strong. So, even though I plateaued at 144 and hadn't lost a single pound in almost 2 months in June, I was okay with that, too. Because I can keep up with my kickboxing classmates. I can help the newbies learn the combinations, and I can encourage them to keep going. "Keep going," I say. "Look at me. I couldn't do a single push up 3 months ago!"

Me!!

Me!!

Fast forward to today, almost four months since I started. I'm up to 18 push ups [PT push ups!] in a minute, 30 sit ups, and I can plank for an entire minute, almost no problem. And then I take a quick break and I plank some more. I go 5 or 6 times a week, and I love fighting. I love the combos and the sweat and the kicking. I am never bored. I am never tempted to quit...I'm not discouraged by the solitude like I was with running, but encouraged by the group of amazing people who work with me. 

This morning, I got on that stupid scale and weighed 140 pounds. I'm going to New York City a woman who will kick your ass. [haha, just kidding...sort of, don't mess with me!] And this morning I went to Kohl's to buy a new jean jacket. I tried the Medium on, knowing i'm still a bit between sizes--that 8/10 range--but nope, I had to go to the small. I'm overwhelmed and grateful. [and obviously, I've gone on way too long. blah, blah, blah] Brag, brag, brag. 

It's possible to get healthier, lose weight, and become the strong, resilient people God meant us to be. If you're struggling, come find me. I'll bring you to class, and we'll do it together. PS: When I hit 135, I'm eating a shake. :D

Cute Guy. Will help.

Cute Guy. Will help.

Writing Update

Still working on my Hawk Elite book 5 and doing revisions on the new Love Me Trilogy, book one, and submitting to agents, and finally, getting ready for ThrillerFest in July!! Whoot! So excited to get out there and meet new people, learn new writing stuff, and have some fun with people from this industry. I'll get to finally hug KJ Howe, who I've now known for years...but we've never been face-to-face!! :D The anticipation is so amazing.

Secondarily, I'm excited to be near family in NY. I've rented a spot through VRBO so I'll have a quaint little spot in the city, just blocks from the conference center/hotel. I've got a critique partner coming up from New Jersey and one that lives on Long Island!! So, we'll hook up...

I'm dizzy with excitement.

This weekend, I've submitted my newly revised and branded Trilogy to four agencies. Formerly my Vows Series, where book one was published by Boroughs Publishing Group, I've worked hard to revive my outlook for this series. It has been a favorite since I first wrote book three fourteen years ago. My fingers are crossed. My prayers are said. Hard work is always being done. 

Wish me luck! 

Strong, the new Skinny

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For years I've thought I wanted to be skinny. Lose weight. Run. Fit in my jeans. Look good. 

Have you ever been dropped somewhere you really have no desire to be? Maybe this is part of the military life, but I didn't want to be in Georgia. I don't really LIKE Georgia that much. I seem to have plenty to complain about here...hell, I was complaining before I arrived!!

I'm never going to LOVE Georgia, but when I look back on our first two years here, I can only be thankful that in Georgia I've met people who influence me to be better. I know for a fact that if we'd stayed in Colorado, I wouldn't have done there what I've done here. I wasn't ready. I wasn't in the right place yet--physically or mentally. And you know what? Neither was John.

John teaches the kickboxing class, and he moved to Georgia with his family this year. If I'd stayed where I wanted to be in Colorado, I wouldn't have had the opportunity to start the Free Kickboxing class in Georgia. Can you believe it? Kicking boxes is like my favorite thing to do, even though I sweat a ton and work like I've never worked in my whole life except...maybe on the swim team in high school [but there wasn't the same kind of sweating there...cuz of the water].

In Georgia, I realized that skinny was okay but strong was better. That doing a plank for 2 minutes meant more than losing 20 pounds. If I'd stayed in Colorado, I'd have been a half-ass, quitting runner for the rest of my life, always moaning about the next hill. 

Is this a life gives you lemons lesson? Ew! Cliche! 

But true. We don't always like where we are in life. But that doesn't mean good things won't happen. Don't worry about being skinny, Be strong!

With Love,

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Victory!

This post will be slightly cultural, political, and definitely controversial. I can only say that today because of what Facebook has done to our world. I know everything that everyone is thinking...it seems. I know what all the experts are saying because articles often show up in my newsfeed. Politics is there in full force as well... and it's often a very left-wing point of view. And though my thoughts aren't political in nature, the tides of society wash away our right to think and have opinions so that even the simplest of topics becomes political. 

I have the cutest son in the whole word: Examples:

About six to ten months ago, he stopped saying the S in words where the S was followed by a consonant. So stop had become 'top' and scooter was 'cooter' and so on. The speculation began...could he hear well? Did he have a speech impediment? Were we seeing the start to something else? Only wait, I didn't quite do that speculating. I never took him to the doctor or therapist. I wasn't ready to jump on the Diagnosis Bandwagon. 

He was a three-year-old, learning to talk and communicate with his family. And lots of three-year-olds have the cutest little speech quirks. 

Well, this morning he woke up and joined us in bed, and for the first time since it all started, he talked about it. "I can't say s'ake," he said with a frown. And his dad and I looked at each other. "That's okay," I said. And then he started practicing words. "S-nnnake." We told him good job, as he went through his list of words, "Snake, Scooter, Stop, Store,..." He still struggled with the 'SM' words, like smell, but for some reason... and I guess it's true, the first step to fixing a problem is admitting you have one ...he started saying the words correctly. 

The incident made me stop and really think about how people are so ready to diagnosis and fix things that might not need fixing. My friend had a doctor tell her that her two-year-old daughter had anxiety because she wouldn't go to strangers. Anxiety. ANXIETY! What in ever-loving-hell? We want to label everything when sometimes, we just have to sit back and let live. I think, if the speech hadn't returned in another year at some point, I might have started digging and considering ways to help him. But, we have to remember that kids are all different! They are all beautifully made. Sometimes the standards don't apply to our children. Sometimes they are behind the standard or beyond the standard. 

And sometimes a quirk is just a quirk. Do we need to fix all our quirks? I say the word "fire" with two syllables...as most people from the Midwest do. As all of my sisters do.  "Fi-er." My husband used to stutter, still does on occasion. 

Why does our society insist on fixing our differences? If we don't like to be around people, why do we have anxiety? It could just be that we prefer solitude. If we are temperamental, fiesty, or angry, why do we need to be on mood-changing medications? If we have a hard time sitting still... you get the idea. 

I'm 41. I've been a parent for almost 19 of those years, and I'm dismayed by the use of medications in our culture. From infants through teenage years, there is a horrifying trend to medicate and fix something that is normal. :( 

I've had a year like that this year, and I come to the end of this school year even more convicted to rely on my instincts rather than the studies and advice of doctors. Life is NOT easy, but we have community and God to share our burdens, IF we are willing to tap into them. 

So, this post is a cheer!! Yay Jack for being so cute and walking around saying 'cooter' and 'pot' for the last six months. We absolutely LOVED your quirk and we'll remember it and talk about it to your girlfriend someday. 

Hope you all have an amazing Memorial Day Weekend.

Prayers for the souls of all those who lost their lives serving our country.

With Love,

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What do you Write?

The conundrum, the struggle, is real. The indecision can be paralyzing. There's the pressure to go in so many different directions...

1. follow the market   2. give in to the daughter's demands for that YA   3. track the temptations to write a thriller   4. finish the series   5. continue the series  

Ack! At the bottom of it all, is there a right answer? I don't think so. But there are better answers. 

For example, I can't move in the direction of the YA. As much as I love the story idea of time travel, my career has been adult romance, contemporary and suspense. Would it be smart to move in a new direction at such a newbie stage of my career? Doesn't matter that I've been writing for 14 years and have 8 books published. I'm practically a nobody. I'm not a best-selling author... so the big question would be, what if that happens on my one YA book? What would be the expectations for more? And what would happen to my romances and suspenses?On the other hand, if I end up writing a YA that rocks...would I want to go back? Is the risk worth it? Or do I stick it out in the vein a little while longer and see what's what?

Well, I wish I knew. 

I've had a slow start to the year, working on a novella in order to keep my fingers limber and my brain working. But I will have to move on eventually. And I'm still not sure which door to pick. 

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