Gratitude Rampage (Maggie)

First, if you’re looking for my extremely unpopular thoughts on the Harlequin lawsuit, you can find them at my solo blog, Shayne’s Shenanigans.  We Storybroads agreed to keep hot political issues off this blog, and that definitely qualifies.

So for today I’m going to share what I do when I get a little off my beam about something.  Like, I don’t know, someone forgets an important date to me, or I get overwhelmed with too much to do in too little time or the tax bill gets me down.  I do a rampage of appreciation.

This method is borrowed from Jerry and Esther Hicks and Abraham as so many of my life-saving habits are.  I give full credit to them.  For me, the written word is very powerful. When I write, I release the magic of the words.  When I compose a spell, it works before I get a chance to perform it.  When I read Tarot for people, I do it in writing, and the channels open for me.  So this exercise, because it involves writing, always works for me.

You just simply sit down and start writing all the good things going on, and go on and on until you feel better.

Here’s an example.

I got paid. I got paid this time before the checking account zeroed out.  In fact, we haven’t run out of funds before the paycheck has arrived once this year, so we’re really doing better on that, and the old backlist ebooks are earning enough to pay two of my monthly bills now!  And growing all the time.  Why, Jessica and I are about to put up a few more, and you know that’s going to help!  And things are going very very well.  The Portal Series is about to launch, we’re getting so close to September.  Oh, and I can already smell Autumn creeping into the air, and oh, how I LOVE FALL.  That decaying leaf smell is starting to permeate the woods where we walk the dogs.  It’s good, very good.  Thank goodness we have those woods and those dogs and those walks together. It’s really such a blissful thing to do.  It’s time to get the hot tub scrubbed out.  Ooh! That’s what I’ll do today, so we can sit there and bask some more.  Haven’t done that all summer.  Yes, that’s a good plan.  Everything is so good.  The house is clean, and we’re digging a pond out back, and yeah, it’s slow going, but it’s going to be gorgeous and more and more all the time, because we love landscaping projects and we’re going to do a lot more of that.  And it’s something that’s great exercise. Speaking of exercise, I’m going to do something FUN and calorie burning today.  Scrubbing hot tub will burn some.  But more! Maybe I can convince Lance to take me kayaking.  That would be awesome.  Or maybe we’ll work on the pond some more.  Everyone’s healthy. I’m healthier than I’ve ever been.  Feeling great, energized, looking good in my not so humble opinion.  Oh, and the ideas have been flowing like a waterfall.  Loving that.  I got a brainstorm over the weekend that could be the next Wings in the Night for me.  With witches!  And time travel.  And maybe even DPI. I Can’t wait till my editors all get back from conference, because it’s time to negotiate a new contract, and that’s always a fun and exciting time.  Just finished a grueling contract writing nonstop and this is my in-between week off, so I need to stop focusing on what my brain keeps saying I “should be” doing and just have some fun this week. This week is going FAST. I will relish this day.  Yes, I’m giving myself permission to do whatever I want today.  That’s what.  Ahh, that feels better.

There.  Rampage accomplished, and here I am feeling much more upbeat than I was before. Works every time.

Enjoy your day!


Time Travel 101 (Maggie)

Time travel is entirely possible. Stay with me here, this is good.  First thing this morning, I was planning to come in here and type the words, “Jogging, THEN blogging. Check back later.”  I was feeling as if I was already running behind, rushing around, trying to get everything done.  I have a book to finish today, and a workout to fit in, because I skipped yesterday. I ought to do two!  And it’s nearly ten, and then I realized I had a blog post to write for today.  And I started to feel panicky.  I started to think, “There’s not enough time left in this day to do all the things on my to-do list!” And I believe it.

When I start to feel that way, I feel it in my body.  My heart starts to skip a little.  My blood pressure creeps up. My mood turns cranky and urgent.  It’s not a good feeling at all.  But there are other symptoms that turn up as a direct result of this thought in my head.  I start finding more and more things to do, and less and less time to get them done.  Each time I look at the clock, more time than is humanly possible, has somehow sped by.  Time is literally moving faster for me.  And each time I see that fact represented by the clock’s hands, I believe more firmly that there is not enough time for me today.  And then time moves still faster, and more things come up to take it up.  Phone calls, urgent tasks that were forgotten, and suddenly need doing now.

It snowballs.  Why?  You know why.  Because what you think about, what you believe, what you expect, is what you create.  And also because (and you might not know this quite as well) time is mutable.  It’s flexible. You can stretch and bend it.  There are reasons for sayings like “Time flies when you’re having fun” and “A watched pot never boils.”  You can bend time.

On days when I find something I want to do, that I would really enjoy, I do them first.  Take this past Sunday for example, when I should have gone up to my office to work on the book, but I wanted to take an extra hour to watch Meet the Press first.  I said to myself, “I have plenty of time. I have all day to write. I can take the time to do this, and still get all my work done.” And I sat down and watched the show.  I got all my pages done that day, got a 5 mile run in, and a shower, and had some quality goof off time before dinner and a relaxing evening.  (*Note, I don’t usually work weekends.  I’m finishing a book this week so it’s an exception.)

I had, on that day, the same amount of work, the same number of hours in the day, the same pressing desire to fit in a workout and some fun time, and I got it all done.  What’s the difference between that day, and this one?  Only my thoughts.  Only my beliefs.

So when I found myself rushing the dogs through their walk this morning, my heart beating too fast as I clapped my hands at them and said, “Let’s go, let’s go, I’ve got stuff to do!” I just suddenly stopped.  I stood still, closed my eyes.  “I’ve got all day,” I told myself.  “It’ll get done when it gets done, and I’ve got all day.  All weekend too.  I’ve got plenty of time.  It’s all good.”  And I took my time for the rest of the walk, enjoyed the sunshine, debated whether I’d do a jog (it was getting a little warm) or a big DVD workout in my office with the AC running (probably the option I’ll take.)  And then I came back inside and instead of putting up a “too busy right now, be back later” note in this space, decided to write about my methods for stretching time.

1.  Stop looking at the clock.  Move it away from the area where you are if you can. Take off your watch.

2.  Be in the moment.  Be completely focused on the task you are doing right now. Do not allow thoughts about what comes next to enter your mind. (They will anyway. Just gently release them and focus on the present moment.)

3. For big tasks, close your eyes and imagine them already completed. See the result in your mind, see the finished product, the cleaned room, the stack of manuscript pages going into the envelope or the file attaching itself to an email addressed to the editor. See it, and say it. “It’s already done. It’s already done. It’s already done.”

4. Take the time to do things you want to do, in the order you want to do them, and while you’re taking that time, take extreme pleasure in it, don’t rush through it. Taking time to do what you want most, is LIVING the belief that you have plenty of time.  LIVING the belief that there’s no need to rush, is how you create that reality in your life.  Don’t rush and there will honest to goodness BE no need to rush.   (Rushing, on the other hand, is living the opposite belief, and making it true.) Relish every moment.  You’ll be surprised at how much better your next task will go.  (And do the same with it!)

Now this ability is going to grow and grow in you if you practice it all the time.  I amazed myself recently with an even bigger example of this.  On a flight home from a conference we hit some terrible weather.  The plane was small and being hurled around in a very alarming way, and I found myself getting very afraid.  I closed my eyes, and imagined myself getting off the plane at the destination airport, still three hours away.  I saw the sun, shining down on the tarmac.  I saw myself walking up the gangway into the airport.  I swear to you I did not fall asleep.  I said, in my mind, “I’m already there.  It’s already done.  I’m already there.”  And when I opened my eyes, I was calmer.  I might have opened my e-reader or sipped my beverage to distract myself from the storm.  I don’t know, but what I do know is that within a few short minutes of that brief mental exercise, I felt the plane angling downward and realized we had begun our descent into the destination airport. Outside, the skies were clear and sunny.  My watch told me nearly three hours had passed, but I experienced only a few minutes.

This is a true story. It’s got to do with quantum physics and the theory that there are as many different versions of reality as their are choices you can make, that time isn’t really linear, but that all time exists now, and that we create everything in our experience like projecting thoughts onto a movie screen. I simply chose the reality I wanted, and by my focus, stepped into it.

So why don’t you try your hand at using my methods (and experiment with your own) for stretching and bending time to fit around you, instead of bending yourself all out of shape to fit into it. See what happens!

Make it a great day and relish every minute of it.

“And now a word from our sponsor…er, me!”

Now just a commercial moment here.  We are down to something like 43 days before The Portal Series launches with a free ebook prequel on September 1st, followed by book 1, Mark of the Witch, on the 18th in print, and October 1st in E.  We’re giving away an ARC a week at my Facebook Page, and on August 1st we’ll be announcing a huge new contest on The Portal Books page.  I hope you’ll follow along and participate in both!


Sam, Vanessa, and the Law of Attraction (Maggie)

Late last year, as my beloved Murano kept breaking down over and over, I went and looked at new ones. Sam had over 120,000 miles on her had become a real problem. So I went and looked and got prices and a trade in offer. The offer on Sam was for less than I owed, and the payments on a new car were, I thought, far too high. So I kept Sam and went home, flustered and unhappy, and muttering every time I got behind the wheel.

Soon, I realized that according to my own beliefs, hating my car was going to keep me in it, or get me another car I would hate just as much. You can only attract what matches your vibe. I wanted to LOVE my car again, to improve my vibration about her, and thereby attract more to love. So my brilliant partner, Lance, started fixing Sam up. Mechanical stuff, yes, but more. Bit by bit, she got better and better.  He re-did the entire interior with black and red leather seats, and carbon fiber dashboard, all the trim, all in this high gloss red & dark gray pattern almost like a houndstooth check. We replace many parts, so she ran almost like new again, and she had a remote starter and satellite radio. And it worked. I fell in love with my car again. I was positively giddy with her. I decided I’d probably never trade her in, I loved her so much.

Then she broke down again. It was only the starter this time, but she left us stranded, we had to call Triple A for a tow to the nearest Nissan garage (also a dealer) and I wondered why. I was vibing “Love my car” all over the place and still, she let me down. I started adding up all the repairs and fix-ups since just before Christmas, and realized they were MORE than the payments on the new vehicle would have been, and that without even counting in the payments on good old Sam. I couldn’t figure out what I was doing wrong.

At the garage, while they graciously got us a loaner with no notice and took Sam in for an immediate exam, I looked again at the one, top of the line brand new Murano Luxury Edition still on the lot. The dealer came out, told me she was a 2012 and since the 13′s were coming soon, he’d discount her heavily. He gave me the key, told me to take her for a spin.

I did, and I wept, because I knew I was going to trade Sam in, and I would miss her.  This car was a dream.

Back at the lot, the dealer, Derek, told me about two rebates and a low interest rate offer. And then, he ran some numbers and made me a new offer on my trade in. More than I owed on Sam. And significantly more than he had offered me just less under a year ago.  Enough more so that I could use the extra and the rebates for a hefty down payment, bringing the monthly payments down to an affordable number.

And then I realized what had happened. I’d raised my vibration about my car, began loving her again, and that opened me up to attract more things that matched that vibe, including a brand new car I would love even more. Sam had to break down one last time to push me forward, to help me evolve.

I bought the new car. She has everything Sam had and more: Back up camera, navigation system, heated seats front and rear, moon roof in back, sun roof in front, voice recognition, integration with my iPhone, and the back hatch opens in slow-mo at the touch of a button. (This isn’t her, but is exactly like her.)

I named her Vanessa.  She told me that was her name the first time I drove her, Vanessa.  To me it sounds like a tall classy blonde.  We’re just getting acquainted.

This is a very good demonstration of how the Law of Attraction works.  While I was hating my car, resenting that I couldn’t afford a new one, angry every time I got behind the wheel, that was my reality and the only reality I could experience.  When I was loving my car, happy to get behind the wheel, content to keep her, that released every block I had created and allowed the newer, better car to come right to me. The Universe lined everything up to give me a match to my improved vibration.

You have to be happy with what you have, not lip-service happy, but truly, genuinely deeply happy, before you can get something better.  This goes for your relationships, your jobs, your income, your home, everything.  And the way to get happy with what you have, is to start looking every day for things about it that are good, and start finding ways, every day, to make something about it better.  That’s how you move up.

And here endeth today’s life lesson.  :)

This Week in Wildlife (Maggie)

This week has been a little odd in many ways probably having to do with the lunar eclipse, and the retrograde planets and the heat wave and goodness only knows what.  But the oddest thing was when lance and I were in the driveway, on hands and knees (get your mind out of the gutter, I’ll explain why in a bit) and suddenly a red fox came racing around the house and nearly ran right into me.  She saw me at the last possible minute, about the time I saw her out of the corner of my eye, and she turned so sharply she flipped right up into the air, landed on her feet and darted in another direction, vanishing into the brush.  As we both looked to see what on earth had been chasing the fox–surely something very big and

Glorificus, aka Glory-Kitty, named for the villain goddess from Buffy the Vampire Slayer

scary, the way it was running hell bent for leather (that’s a cowboy term, look it up)–around the corner of the house came its pursuer. My cat, Glory. Maybe I shouldn’t have named her after a villain goddess.  I don’t know.  Anyway, she careened around the corner after the fox, saw it darting across the road and into the deep grass there, and calmly sat down, giving a slow, satisfied blink.  I swore I heard her say, “And don’t come back.”

I know, nuts, right?  She’s an amazing cat.  So okay, now I get to the part about why Lance and I were on hands and knees in the driveway. And it has nothing to do with 50 Shades of Blacktop or anything like that. :)  We had just finished walking the dogs, when we heard this plaintive mewing sound.  I looked up and saw a little yellow & white kitten in near the side of the road, crying her heart out.  So we hunkered down to get her to come closer, because we are complete saps about animals.  Especially needy, baby ones.  She crept out of the weeds and came warily toward us.  I left Lance to charm her in, while I darted inside to get a dish of cat food.  Then I came back out and knelt again, and soon the little kitten–just skin and bones, really–was wolfing down the food, and I was stroking her while she did.  That’s when the whole fox thing happened.  The kitty was so hungry, she never flinched, though the vixen nearly ran us both over.

Luna-the newcomer

When I saw Glory, I knew there would be trouble, so I scooped up the kitten, and took it around back, skirting out of her sight while Lance distracted her.  The kitty, which by then I had already named Luna, because she arrived on the day of the Lunar Eclipse, did not like being carried at all, but I managed to hold on until I got her to the garden shed, and there I left her food, and later added cool fresh water and a nice soft bed.

She’s been coming back ever since, and hanging out here.  Glory has chased her a couple of times, but she doesn’t go far, and yesterday they were having a staredown, Glory on the deck, Luna in the grass beside it.  Glory’s eyes were narrow and mean.  Luna’s were huge and plaintive.  “Can’t you see I’m cute?”  ::blink blink::  Both eventually relaxed enough to lie down, but when Luna tried to move closer, Glory would stand up and growl softly.  So Luna would just lie back down.  As would Glory, the fur along her spine all stiff and her ears forward.

The dogs have chased little Luna twice now, as well.  But she doesn’t run far.  Just into the bushes, and then she sits there mewling at them.  Dozer wants to play with her.  Niblet wants to adopt her.  Daisy acts like she wants to eat her, but I don’t think that’s real.  She loves chasing Glory, and Glory seems to love it do. She teases Daisy, batting her while she’s resting, until she gets up and gives her a good romp, so I think it’s all just in fun. Luna, however, didn’t get that memo.

It’s going to take some time, but we’re sure Luna is the newest member of the family here at Serenity.  Now that the holiday is over and she’s still around, we’re going to make an appointment at the vet for her, get her vaccinated, tested for various maladies, and spayed.  We’ve already given her a doze of flea & tick medication.  She has these gorgeous yellowish greenish slightly brownish eyes.  I sure hope Glory accepts her soon.  I won’t have her shut out of the house in the winter, but that gives us plenty of time for everyone to make nice.

So that’s our animal report for the week.

I want to quickly add two business related things for you:

1.  We’re giving away prizes every single Saturday this month and next at my Facebook Page.  Just click the FAN OF THE WEEK tab on the page to enter. This week’s prize will be an Advance Reading Copy of MARK OF THE WITCH, which won’t go on sale until mid-September.  This is a print copy. Later we’ll have more of these, plus some unique fan gear and more.  All leading up to my big fall releases.

2.  There’s a huge party with more than 400 Authors going on over at TRR, with games, puzzles, prizes, interviews, live chats, and more, all month long.  Be sure to check it out!

One Little Pebble (Maggie, in Memory of Jane O’Connor)

I’ve been mesmerized by the first season of the new TV series Touch since it began. In the show, a little boy who cannot or will not speak, played brilliantly by young actor David Mazouz, is somehow able to see the connections between everything in our world.  He can see where things go wrong if any of the connections aren’t made, and he manages to get his father (Kiefer Sutherland) to help him make sure those connections do happen.  It’s an amazing series, made more amazing to me because it’s not fictional at all.  The quantum world is becoming more and more a part of our cultural awareness, and we are beginning, just barely, to understand that everything really is connected to everything else.

I was reminded sharply of this when I learned yesterday of the passing of a small, quiet woman by the name of Jane O’Connor.  Jane was afflicted with cerebral palsy, and her condition was such that it would have imposed severe limits on most people.  Not so Jane.  Jane loved romance novels, adored them. Reading them, even trying to write them, and because of that, she learned about the Romance Writers of America, joined it, found out how to go about creating a local chapter, and created it.  She did this without any help from anyone as far as I know.  All the legalities, all the paperwork.  She put a little ad in the Syracuse NY Pennysaver, and a handful of aspiring writers saw it, and the Central NY Romance Writers Chapter of RWA was born. (The photo below was taken at the chapter’s 20 year Anniversary Celebration in 2008.  L to R: Maggie Shayne, Jane O’Connor, Gayle Callen, Molly Herwood.)

There are now more than 30 published authors with more than 200 published novels to their credit, who say they might never have found their way to their current career had they not found and joined CNYRW.  Had Jane not taken that step that most with her condition would never have dreamed of taking.

I found the chapter in 1988, shortly after it was founded, joined in ’89 even though I knew I’d never attend a meeting because I could not, would not drive in downtown Syracuse. (I was young.) Around the same time, I located my birth father after a long search. He later vanished from my life again, but in the meantime, I’d taught myself to drive to his house on Tulip Street in the Syracuse suburb of Liverpool. A few months later, the Central NY Romance Writers relocated their meeting place to the Liverpool Library on Tulip Street.

I can think of dozens of these interconnected puzzle pieces of my life, how if this hadn’t happened, then this wouldn’t have happened and maybe this wouldn’t have happened.  It’s amazing and magical to think about and recognize how many tiny details had to fall into place to get any of us to where we are right now.

Jane O’Connor was a very important piece in my jigsaw puzzle, and in the puzzles of many other authors who might be waiting tables otherwise.  She helped lead me to doing what I love, and to meeting the best friends I’ve ever had.  This tiny, unimposing, supposedly challenged lady may never have published a novel.  But there are 33 authors, 207 novels and 45 novellas (at least, there are more who didn’t respond to my email asking for numbers in time for this post) that would never have been published without her.

Isn’t that something?  Such a tiny pebble created such a huge ripple in the lives of so many.  And all of us blessing her memory, thanking her, sending her love to carry her on her way.

I bet she’s going to become a muse.  Don’t you?





Busy Summer, Stress and Health (Maggie)

Well, here we are. Mid-summer. The Solstice has just passed, the longest days are here, and they’ve been the hottest for many of us. Summer is a busy time, but it’s supposed to be. It’s the season of action, the crops and gardens (and lawns) are growing rapidly, and so should we be. Winter is the time for rest and reflection. Summer is go, go, go!

I’ve been doing that and will continue to straight through the fall. And even then, feeling like I can’t possibly get it all done. There’s just so much! When I dwell for more than a minute on the endless list of things I should be doing, things I need to get done, and on how little time there is to do them, I start feeling stressed. I’m lucky in a way, because my body tells me the minute I start letting stress creep in. My heart begins to beat out of synch. It hips and hops a little, flips and flutters a little. And if I don’t change my train of thought soon, I know, from past experience that it will soon burst into a full blown tachycardia episode and land me in the nearest ER. The older I get the more I learn my triggers. Alcohol, Caffeine, Stress. They’re the big three. So I avoid them all. But while you can pretty easily eliminate the first two from your life, the third is much harder.

It has been quite a revelation to me to actually be able to feel the physical result of stress on my body. In a way, having this very minor condition has been kind of a blessing, because it’s really opened my eyes to how powerful a kick a single cup of regular coffee, or rushing around in heavy traffic while running late, truly has. It’s a revelation. When you can honestly feel the impact of stress, instantly, in your body, you realize just how harmful it is. It stops being an abstract concept, and becomes a very clear fact. Stress is harmful. And sneaky, too. Having this physical reaction has shown me that I’m under stress at times when I don’t even realize it. I thought I was pretty zen. Surprise! Not so much.

Zen needs nurturing. Relaxation takes practice.

Here are some things I’ve been putting into practice that seem to help.

*Daily meditation.  The busier the day, the more important it is to fit it in.  My brain is too noisy to meditate without a little help so I use some favorite recordings to help out.  Jerry and Esther Hicks have a guided meditation CD that comes with their book, Getting Into the Vortex that’s amazing for me.  There are countless others.  Find what works for you.

*A Mellow Playlist.  I created a playlist on my iPhone and iPod called “Mellow” and I fill it with relaxing music that always makes me feel peaceful.  When stress starts to sneak in, I hit that button and get back my zen.  Especially helpful in traffic.  The worst the traffic, the more I need it.  Enya, James Taylor, just mellow.

*Soothing Self-Talk.  Certain phrases that I practice often enough so that they come to mind easily and just when I need them.  I grab onto them like a piece of driftwood in a stormy sea, and they gently float me to above the waves.  Here are a few of my favorites:

I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be, doing exactly what I’m supposed to be doing. 

The Universe wants me right here, right now.  Why fight it? 

I’ll get there when I get there. 

It’ll get done when it gets done. 

It’s not the end of the world. 

Everything is unfolding exactly as it should. 

*Exercise.  I’ve discovered that days when I exercise are less stressful than days when I don’t.  A vigorous workout is a way to direct the stress energy into something productive, and then be rid of it.  You just work it off.

*Prioritize and then Focus.  Make a list of things to do, and then put them in order, not of what should be done first, or what’s “most important” or what deadline is nearest, but rather, which one is bothering you most.  Which one is keeping you up at night, on your mind most frequently, in other words, causing you the most stress.  Do that thing first.  Then pick the next most worriesome, bothersome item, and do that.   Also, make your to do list spread out over a week, or even two weeks instead of for a single day.  We tend to make these big lists that even SuperWoman couldn’t do in a day, and then feel bad when we don’t do the impossible.  One big task, and then a few small ones, and in between each of them, insert time to do something for yourself, something nice, healthy, positive, dare I say FUN?

Because life is too short to do otherwise, you know.  We’re here to have fun after all.  And keep the to do lists short, realistic.  Spread those tasks out far, so you finish the few on your list and feel successful at the end of each day.

*Set and Stick to Quitting Time  This is key, and hard for us busy types.  But it’s also very soothing to have something to tell you firmly when to quit for the day.  Especially when you work at home.  So pick a reasonable time, maybe say something like, no working after dinner, to give yourself time to be sane, to have a life, to relax.  And likewise, take days off every single week, no matter what.

So those are my tips for de-stressing your life.  I hope you can use them.

Before I go I have to remind you all that there’s only a week left in the Blissful Secrets Contest.  You can win a Kindle Fire or Nook Tablet at June’s end.  Authors Teresa Medeiros, Shelly Thacker, Susan Mallery, Jane Porter have teamed up with me for this contest, and you can enter at any of our Facebook Pages or just begin here at mine and click the contest tab!  See you there!



Summer Solstice (Maggie)

When the sun reaches the Tropic of Cancer, its furthest point north, and the sun appears to be directly overhead at high noon it is the day we call the Summer Solstice.  Solstice from the Latin solstitium and literally means “sun stands still.”  The day is alternately known as “Midsummer” or Litha by the Pagans, and has been celebrated by Christians as the birthday of John the Baptist.  In times past, the day was seen as the wedding day of the Earth Goddess to the Sun God, and was celebrated with much revelry.

In practical terms can see why.  Midsummer was like a mini-vacation.  The planting and tending of spring was over, the crops now thriving and well on their way.  The harvest time had not yet begun.  This, then, this in between time, for was eating, drinking, and making merry.  Men and woman competed in sporting contests for the right to play the rolls of of the Lord and Lady of Summer in a mock marriage ceremony to be re-enacted.  Fairies were said to be extremely active this time year, and the revelry was baudy, and fun.

Fortune telling was a feature of the celebration, with many a young girl looking for the identity of her future husband in the blossoms of summer flowers.  This is where the old familiar “he loves me, he loves me not” routine of the daisy began.

THE book on the Summer Solstice-Click to See on Amazon!

Another custom of the time was that of filling barrels with tar, or covering wheels with straw, either of which would then be lit on fire, and sent rolling down hillsides by dark of the solstice night.  They represent the sun, having reached its height, now beginning its descent.

I’m reminded of these customs every time I sit near a summer bonfire, or see fireworks light up the summer night sky.

The ancients saw the sun as a god, and that too makes sense.  Without the sun, there would be no life.  I think when we, today, choose to observe, honor and celebrate the earth’s holy days, the solstices and the equinoxes, we bring ourselves closer to nature.  We align with it and deepen our understanding, and there’s nothing harmful about that.  In fact, I think it can be extremely enlightening.

What does the sun mean to us today?  It really is essential to our existence, isn’t it? We forget that.  We can light up our dark nights and warm our homes with electricity and fuel.  When we go out into the sun, our main thoughts these days are to protect ourselves from it with layers of chemical-laden lotions, hats, sunglasses.  We can even get a tan without any help from the sun (not that I recommend it.)  We have full spectrum lights now that can do the sun’s job of lifting our mood, burning away depression.

We might almost be able to forget how important this celestial being is to us.

It’s made of the same stuff we are, leftovers from the big bang.  Stardust.   It provides us with vitamin D and stimulates the release of mood lifting endorphins in the brain, much like an anti-depressant would do.  It lights our days, and warms us.  If it were any hotter, or any cooler, Earth would be as barren as Venus or Mars. It provides the energy that feeds every green thing on our planet, every blade of grass, and every leaf of every tree, through photosynthesis.  It dictates the changing of the seasons.  It’s a vastly untapped source of clean, renewable energy we’ve only begun to harvest.  It’s even responsible for the light of the moon each night, which is only a reflection of the sun.

In mystical terms, the midsummer sun represents forces like energy, vitality, athleticism, competition, victory, triumph.  The prime of life.  Force.  Expansion.  Passion and romantic love.  Activity.  Vibrant health.  Fertility.  Physical strength and prowess.  Anger and tempers.  I liken it to the Strength card in Tarot, the image of a woman holding a lion by a satin ribbon.  Powerful force, easily controlled and directed, making it unstoppable.

Summer Solstice is and always has been a moment to absolutely relish and celebrate, appreciate and bask in this thing we call LIFE.  So take a few minutes this June 20th and 21st (the Sun reaches Cancer at 7:08 PM EST, so either day will be good to capture its energies.

Celebrate by feasting on summer fruits and veggies, sharing a passionate and romantic interlude with your significant other, getting a reading or doing your own fortune telling or even casting a spell or two to bring your soulmate to you, if you found him, spending time in the sunshine, dancing, drumming, singing, swimming, basking.  It’s not a day attuned to deep and silent meditations.  It’s one for active things and for getting a little bit rowdy.  But mainly, have FUN and celebrate being alive.

I hope you enjoy.  I sure intend to. To help get you in the mood, here’s a little music to enjoy that talks about the holiday from a modern day Witch’s point of view.

Summer Solstice, Lisa Thiel


Freaky Friday (Maggie)

It’s Thursday afternoon and I forgot to post this blog earlier because my life is HOPPING today.  So I’m just going to fill you in, and then I’ll return to my normal positive energy better living blogging next week.  This way you can play along.  I’ve got ALOT going on.

Friday we are launching The Portal Books website, for my Portal Series from MIRA.  While the books begin in September with a free prequel on 9/1 followed by book one on the 18th, my editor wanted the site ready for BEA (Book Expo America) which I’m attending next week.  We’ll be giving away signed Advance Reading Copies of book 1 there, and we hope people will be excited enough to come looking for more at the site when they get home.  So, The Portal Books launches Friday.

Also Friday, the premiere of the Portal Series’ first video trailer will appear on the site.  The trailer features an original song, Witches on the Wind by singer/songwriter Dan Hall and lyricist David Norris, and we hope to have the mp3 on sale tomorrow as well.  If not, it’ll be up with a link to buy a few days later.  I love the song, have it in its earliest version with just Dan and his guitar, and now in this new, richer production.  I believe the song will sell for 99¢.

ALSO Friday, I’m launching the Blissful Secrets Contest with my friends Teresa Medeiros, Shelly Thacker, Susan Mallery and Jane Porter.  Each author’s Facebook Page will contain one of five “Blissful Secrets.”  Visitors paste all five into a single email to enter.  Grand prize will be a Kindle Fire or Nook Tablet at month’s end. Details on my FACEBOOK PAGE (look for the Contest Tab up top beginning Friday. You’ll have to LIKE the page to play.)

And I’ve got trading cards in progress, a non-fiction witchcraft/law of attraction book to finish, an online book of shadows to flesh out, excerpts to upload, the third book in the Portal Series to finish, and a brand new street team to get organized.

I am amazed and delighted by how beautifully all of this is coming together.  The Universe is organizing all the cooperative components around me, like a whirlwind, like a vortex, and it’s so exciting I can barely sit still. Therefore, I’m going out for a jog right this minute.

With apologies for this post being late, I hope you’ll pop over to tomorrow and see what’s had me so excited all this time. You can help a ton by spreading the word.




Living in the Moment for Batshit Busy Broads (Maggie)

I wanted to find an image to go with my theme for the day, and typed “Improve Your Life” into the Google bar to see what graphics came up, to find something free for public use.  And guess what popped up on the very first page of results, near the top, even?  This cover, of my own self-help book, Shayne on You.  I guess its message must be getting out there.  So before I go further, the book that will change your life is FREE to fans of my FB page.  Here’s how to get it (followed by a great post you’ll love, promise. Skip down if you don’t want the book.)

1.  Go to my Facebook Fan Page

2. Click LIKE

3.  Click on the FANAPALOOSA or FAN CONTENT tab in that row of buttons, top right, just below the cool page header.  There you’ll find the coupon code and instructions to get Shayne on You in any electronic format you want, for free.

Onward.  I am in the middle of a meltdown as I type this, and trying to take my own advice, work though it via this column.  I am in that rush of “How the hell am I supposed to write a book when every single day someone needs me to do something else?” phase.  I’m not even going to go into the list or the phone call just now that took it to a whole new level (Law of Attraction: I’m focused on being too in demand, and therefore all I can attract is more demands.)  I’m so overwhelmed right now I can’t even wrap my head around my hair appointment today and keep picking up the phone to cancel.  But I have BEA in ten days and I NEED my hair appointment desperately. And really, no date between now and then is going to be any easier.

Deep breath.  DEEP breath.  DEEPER breath.  Take a beta blocker, women, this is the exact kind of day when you get the SVTs and wind up in the ER.  So stop it.  Just stop it.

Live in the Moment.  It’s great advice, but not so easy to take when you’re in the middle of a cyclone, is it?

So here’s what I’m working on inside my head right now.  This is the self talk process I go through when I’m off track and need to get back on before I hit a tree and cause a real mess.  Oh, yeah.  I know it’s coming if I don’t rein myself in.  I’ll share my process so you can see how even I get off track, and how you too, can maybe use my methods to get back on again.

Everything happens for a reason.  Wherever the Universe wants me to be today, I’m going to end up being, and all this fighting against the current is a waste of time and energy.  It’s gonna happen the way it’s gonna happen.  I need to stop trying to paddle upstream, stop bitching about the way the current is carrying me, relax back in my boat, and let go of the oars.

And how about enjoying the view?  How about looking at exactly where I am while I’m there, and seeing and experiencing every detail of it, instead of spending the entire time worrying about what I have to do next?  And then spending all my time there worrying about the next thing, or the next ten things, and so on?

The easiest way to let go of the stress of a busy, demanding life where I have more things to get done than I can possibly ever get done, is to let it go.  Give it up.  I’m not going to worry about my spoiled weekend plans, because a thousand things could change between now and then.  I’m going to focus only on what I’m doing today.  Not what I feel I should be doing, not on how many more things I wish I could squeeze into the hours today, but only one thing, the thing I’m doing at the very moment, and just give up on everything else.  I’m not going to get any writing done today.  So I’m just going to surrender to that, and stop worrying about it.  Today I’m writing this blog and then I’m going to the salon for my hair day, and when I get back I’ll head to the highschool for the grandkids’ concert.  Those are the only things I’m going to think about.  And as a matter of fact, I’m only going to think about each of those things AS I’M DOING THEM, and block the next thing out of my mind.

And you know what?  I’m going to enjoy each thing as I do it.  I’m going to put my entire focus on seeing, feeling, experiencing every nuance of each of today’s events to the absolute fullest.  I’m going to make them fun.  I’m going to laugh and joke and listen to great music, and enjoy the ride today.  I’m tossing the oars overboard and just holding on through this bit of rapids.  Rapids are the fun part, right?  And later, once I’m enjoying the hell out of them, I’ll emerge into calm waters again, and lean back in my little boat and float peacefully and find animals in the clouds and look for damselflies hovering over the water.

Surrender.  Yes, I think that’s the key.  You just have to get to the point where you can say, I give up, Universe.  Trying to control what happens today, trying to be the one in charge of where I’ll go and what I’ll do is exhausting and frustrating and no fun.  So I’m gonna let it go, and float where the current wants to take me, and not worry about a single thing today.

And when I die, I’ll still have an unfinished to-do list.  I would have either way.  But when I look back on my life, I’ll see countless days of blissful floating, or exciting rides through laughing white water, where I experienced every splash on my face, instead of countless days being oblivious to everything around me while focused on stuff I think I should be doing instead.  I could miss out on my entire life if I do that!

Oh, that’s so much better.

There.  There, I think I’m okay now.  I’m going to spend the next ten minutes meditating just to make sure.  Did this help anyone else?

We batshit busy broads need to help each other let go now and then, yes?


Maggie, all zen like again.  I’m so glad I had this blog to write today!


Quantum Physics Explained by a Third Grader (Maggie)

I’m so glad I got inspired to write this post.  You know, we adults tend to complicate the simplest of things.  We want to know why things work the way they do and how they work the way they do.  I remember a few years back reading about a multi-million dollar study proving, once and for all, that chicken soup really does ease cold and flu symptoms, and explaining all the whys and hows.  Why wasn’t it good enough for us to just take grandma’s word for it?  Or even to try it, and feel better, and go by that?  Why did we need proof and explanations and so on?

Third graders, kids in general, actually, haven’t yet reached that point of doubting everything that they don’t understand.  It’s like the old science that said it was impossible for a bumblebee to fly.  A third grader would say, “No it’s not.”  And the scientist would look at a wall sized chalkboard filled with calculations and say, “Here’s my proof.”  And the kid would point at the bumblebee and say, “Here’s mine.”

Quantum physics is weird science where particles of matter don’t seem to follow the “rules” of physics as we know them.  Single particles of light, photons, can and do exist in multiple places at the same time, until and unless the physicist looks at them in one place, at which point they only exist there, in that one place. Science now believes that “reality” as we know it is just one version, and that there are multiple, nay, infiinite versions of reality all existing simultaneously, one for each possible decision and choice and outcome.

New age gurus like Gregg Braden (I’m a drooling fan) have extrapolated on that, quite convincingly if you ask me, to suggest that the version of these countless realities that we experience, is the one we are looking at.  The one we pay attention to.  The one we believe in. That, like the scientist with his photon, they all exist until we focus on one, and then they all blink out (for us) and we see only that one.  There are probably blackboards full of calculations backing this up.

My proof is when I can’t find my keys.  The minute I start living in the “I can’t find my keys” version of reality, my keys no longer exist (for me) and I will later find them in a place I’ve looked thoroughly several times, sure they were not there, and there they are, because I got distracted from “I can’t find my keys” and allowed them to blink back into my experience.  Or allowed myself to step back into the reality I know and believe in, the one where the keys MUST be somewhere.

Children don’t need proof.  They throw tantrums when they don’t get their way because they haven’t been here in the physcal long enough to have forgotten that that’s the way it’s supposed to be.

Before we incarnate into these little physical bodies, these dense little individually wrapped packages, we are EVERYTHING.  We are THE WHOLE.  We’re not just us, we’re them, and we’re it, and we’re the missing keys, and we’re the dream house, and we’re the soulmate we so desire. We ARE all those things.  Because all things are spirit.  All things.  Things we don’t think of as spiritual, are spirit, in denser form, becoming physical.  Spirit projects itself to become physical.

So then we come here, and we separate from the Whole, squirting a bit of spirit into a physical shell, and we wake up in this state, and we slowly bit by bit, come to think of ourselves as individuals, as separate from everything else.  And then we are taught, bit by bit, by our parents mostly, that you can’t have everything you want.  That life isn’t fair.  That you have to work hard and suffer.  That having fun is frivolous and working hard is virtuous and suffering is holy, and pleasure is sinful.  It’s all backwards.

Kids haven’t quite been indoctrinated yet.  They still think they’re here to have fun.  (They’re right.)  They still think they shouldn’t have to spend beautiful sunny days chained to a desk in a school room.  (They’re right.)  They still think that they shouldn’t have to raise their hands when they have something to say, or stand in line like little soldiers, or eat what they’re told and pee when they’re told and sit still and be quiet and obey the rules.  (They’re right.)  But we punish with our disapproval until they comply, and then they become adults who think like the adults who indoctrinated them, and come to believe that fun is bad and pleasure is sinful and life is hard and you can’t get what you want and you have to do what you’re told.

It’s heartbreaking to watch, really.  You could teach your kids in two hours a day, what most schools take 8 hours a day to teach them.  So much time is wasted there. Time they could be playing, basking, enjoying, relishing life.  But they outsmart us.  They find ways to have fun in school, much to their teachers’ dismay, quite often.  But they find ways.  (We shouldn’t be surprised that kids rebel at a certain age.  It’s their last attempt to reclaim the freedom they intuitively know they had once.)

But I digress.  If you can get back in touch with the notion that you are spirit, and spirit is everything, and therefore you are everything, and let go of this illusion that we are separate, you really can have anything you want.  But it’s hard to let go of the beliefs that have been hammered into us all our lives.  We basically have to become kids again.  Believe in magic, in fairytales, in Santa Claus.

A recent experience of mine with a health matter convinced me that creating our own reality means that we have to believe in what we know in our gut to be our truth, (OUR truth, and each of us has her own) so firmly and so completely that nothing and no one can shake us from it.  No one and nothing can make us doubt. Because as soon as we doubt the version of reality we’ve chosen, it starts to waver, and we start catching glimpses of a different reality, and then we start thinking that’s the real one.  It’s not.  The one we choose is the real one.

We need to get cozy with knowing that we are everything.  When we want something, we don’t need to look outside ourselves to get it, or wonder where it’s coming from or how we’ll pay for it, or when it’s going to get here, or how it can possibly happen; we should instead focus on becoming it. Our spirits expand to open our awareness to that which we desire, and we see as we get in tune with that belief, that it’s already there.  It was just invisible before, like our missing keys, because we were vibing, “I really wish I had a (blank)” instead of on “It’s already done” and believing it so powerfully, so strongly, so completely, that our veil of illusion wavers and falls away and the reality we choose opens wider and that thing we thought we didn’t have, reveals itself, becomes a part of our experience, because we finally chose to believe it did strongly enough to allow it.

It becomes, because we had the innocent trust of a child.  We believed the way a child believes that he should be able to have what he wants, and threw a tantrum when anyone tried to sway us from that.

Ooh, this is good.  I’m loving this post today, I hope you are too.

*Disclaimer: I know parents and teachers will be mad about my take on our school systems, so let me add that this is just my two cents, all my kids went to public school, and one is now a teacher and I know she’d disagree.  We do the best we can, and there’s no one true and right way to do anything, so take it as my own opinion, which is WAY easy to spout since I no longer have kids at home.  And also, each kid’s experience is a part of his or her journey, too, and who am I to say it’s good or bad?

Okay, I have pages waiting to be written today. I intended this to be a quick, simple post, but the words started coming through me, and I had to let them.  That’s what I do, after all.