My newest book, Test of Love, will release on July 27!

Yeah, I know, it’s been a long time, both since I blogged or released a new book. But I’m happy to say I’m breaking my dry spell on both counts. I’m releasing Test of Love, a New Adult Romance novella, on Monday, July 27. It’ll be available as an ebook through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, iBooks, Scribd, Page Foundry, and Tolino.

Test of Love

Test of Love

As college graduation draws near, twenty-two year old Monie Bloomfield has everything in the world going for her. She’s been accepted to a prestigious law school, which she’ll be attending with Rob, her dreamboat first love. Monie and Rob plan to marry, open a law practice as partners, have a family together, and enjoy many happy years as a couple.

But Monie feels trapped. She no longer wants to follow the comfortable Life Script she and Rob have been writing together. She’s uncommonly gifted on the guitar, and she decides to explore the possibilities of a career in rock and roll. She becomes lead guitarist for Woolly Worm Hotel, a rock band on the verge of making it big. If she commits to playing and touring with the band, it will mean leaving Rob behind.

He doesn’t want to stand in her way, so he reluctantly backs down and gives her the space she needs, hoping she’ll get rock and roll out of her system. But though she still loves Rob, Monie enjoys playing with the Woolly Worms even more than she could have dreamed. And when sparks fire up between her and Siegfried, the band’s brilliant pianist and songwriter, she must weigh the security of her old path against the excitement of her new one and make difficult, heart-wrenching choices that will change her life forever.

Happy New Year! Goals for 2015

As hard as it is for me to believe, 2014 is drawing to a close, and 2015 is almost upon us.

To be sure, 2014 had its challenges. The wave of losses didn’t stop. In 2014, a dear friend of mine passed away. Two of my beloved cats (Brainball and MaoMao) ran off to the Rainbow Bridge. But 2014 had its joys, as well. I got a delightful and fulfilling job as church pianist. And my family was blessed with a precious new feline member, a little baby girl named Solstice, whom we rescued on June 21, the day of the Summer Solstice, at only four weeks old.

solstice

In what has become a yearly ritual on this blog, I’ll offer the New Year’s goals I made last year at this time, in bold type, with commentary (in regular type) on whether or not I accomplished each goal. Then I’ll present my New Year’s goals for the coming year. Without further ado:

Old Goals:

1. Take better care of myself so that I can regain my resiliency and my positive outlook. I miss both. That means going back to daily meditative practice, re-establishing an exercise routine, prioritizing good sleep, resisting my tendencies to spread myself way too thin, and kicking to the curb my tendencies to want to turn to fatty food for comfort.

Hmm. Well, I think I’ve done okay with this, on the whole. I haven’t gone back to my daily meditative practice. I need to, though. It’s extraordinarily good for me, on every level. I’ve gotten a lot better about not spreading myself too thin. There’s only so much one person can do, and when I try too hard to please everyone, I only wind up pleasing nobody (including myself) and running myself ragged. I have gotten much better about saying “no” when needed. And I’m doing better on sleep, exercise, and diet.

2. Cultivate more gratitude for the good things in my life so I don’t suffer in the grip of a myopic obsession with the bad and the difficult. Yes, life has delivered mucho wallops this year, all in one short space, but there are still plenty of things to be grateful for.

I’ve done pretty well here, too. 2014 had its share of wallops, to be sure, but I don’t think I ever lost sight of the good things and blessings in my life. In a funny way, I’ve cultivated even more gratitude for them, because I know how quickly things can change.

3. Renew my commitment to my artistic endeavors. Music: I want to finish recording Reflected Moon in 2014 and hopefully release it. I also want to write new music. Fiction: I need to make friends with my fiction muse again. I have become more estranged from her than from my music muse. Yeah, they’re two different muses. In 2014, my goal is simply to find my way into at least one story I love and truly want to finish and share with the world. Maybe add some blogging to the mix, too, as I feel moved to do so.

2014 has been a mix on the creative level. I still have not recorded Reflected Moon. I don’t think I even completed one track. And I’m ashamed to say that I haven’t written any new music. I’ve fiddled and improvised and noodled, certainly, but no new compositions that are ready for prime time. No new fiction, either. My creativity was AWOL for much of 2014 as I worked on re-centering myself and getting back on an even keel after the difficulties of 2013.

The good news: my creativity is coming back, bit by bit. It’s nurtured and encouraged by my wonderful church pianist job, which keeps both me and my muse happy. Fiction writing was pretty much flatlined for most of 2014, but in November, I participated in NaNoWriMo in honor of my dear friend who passed away. And I kicked NaNoWriMo butt, which showed me that I can still rock and roll as a fiction writer when I give myself sufficient motivation.

Which brings me to….

My (Very Simple) Goals for 2015.

1. Keep flying high on the music and enjoying my church pianist job. It truly is such a blessing in my life. Write new music. And make progress on my next album, Reflected Moon.

2. Make a serious commitment to my fiction. Get productive again. Finish my projects. Get them out there. Believe I can do it.

3. Blog. Yeah. More than twice a year *ahem.*

4. Take good care of myself and count my blessings.

Happy New Year, everybody!

Dona Nobis Pacem

peace_globe_2014

“When all thoughts
Are exhausted
I slip into the woods
And gather
A pile of shepherd’s purse.

Like the little stream
Making its way
Through the mossy crevices
I, too, quietly
Turn clear and transparent.”

~Zen Master Ryokan

~*~

“In the sky, there is no distinction of east and west; people create distinctions out of their own minds and then believe them to be true.” –

Buddha

~*~

“Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.”

~Martin Luther King Jr.

New Year: Goodbye 2013, Hello 2014

rocksSo 2013 is nearly over. Thank goodness. It’s been a truly horrible year, the worst year of my life. It started out bad, with major flooding on our property, and as the months wore on, difficulty followed difficulty without respite and culminated in the deaths, just over a month ago, of two of the dearest people in my life, three days apart. In many ways, I’m still reeling.

Of course one has to keep plodding on, so in that spirit, I offer the goals I’d set for myself this time last year (in bold type), followed by my thoughts on how I did in actually achieving them. Then I’ll set my goals for the new year. Goals, not resolutions. Who the hell keeps resolutions, anyway?

Old Goals:

1. Release my second music album, Reflected Moon. It’ll be comprised of both songs and piano-based instrumentals. Yes, I’ll be singing on the next album!

I did manage to record three tracks for this album, with a fourth partially recorded.

2. Finish drafting The Renunciate, my current novel-in-progress which is likely to be the first in a series.

I’ve put The Renunciate aside. Will I go back to it? I just don’t know at this point.

3. Get The Renunciate ready for publication and available for purchase via Kindle, Nook, and Smashwords.

See #2.

4. Blog on a regular basis, whether here, Green Mountains Walking, and/or Grace Notes.

Nada. My blogs have all languished.

5. Write more songs and instrumentals and become ever more confident and adept at digital recording, mixing, and mastering piano with vocals and other goodies.

I wrote two new instrumentals and one new song, so that’s something. And I did manage to get more confident and adept at  recording, mixing, mastering and the like. Progress, drip by drip.

And now, here are my goals for 2014.

1. Take better care of myself so that I can regain my resiliency and my positive outlook. I miss both. That means going back to daily meditative practice, re-establishing an exercise routine, prioritizing good sleep, resisting my tendencies to spread myself way too thin, and kicking to the curb my tendencies to want to turn to fatty food for comfort.

2. Cultivate more gratitude for the good things in my life so I don’t suffer in the grip of a myopic obsession with the bad and the difficult. Yes, life has delivered mucho wallops this year, all in one short space, but there are still plenty of things to be grateful for.

3. Renew my commitment to my artistic endeavors. Music: I want to finish recording Reflected Moon in 2014 and hopefully release it. I also want to write new music. Fiction: I need to make friends with my fiction muse again. I’ve become more estranged from her than from my music muse. Yeah, they’re two different muses. In 2014, my goal is simply to find my way into at least one story I love and truly want to finish and share with the world. Maybe add some blogging to the mix, too, as I feel moved to do so.

What will 2014 bring? There’s no way to know, but my only “resolution” is this. I resolve not to lose sight of what is truly important in our ephemeral human lives: love, kindness, and compassion. No matter what.

Photo by D. Sharon Pruitt on Flickr.