Avatar Me! (Maggie)

Newsflash!  Within 33 years, we will all be able to upload our brains into a robotic “avatar” and live forever.

Here’s the article about it.

It’s a fascinating read.  Scientists funded by a Russian billionaire (who’s not yet 50, like me, so he doesn’t know any better) are working on this project.  Here’s a tiny excerpt that nutshells the stages of the plan.

2015 – 2020: A robotic copy of a human body remotely controlled by a brain-computer interface

2020 – 2025: An avatar is created into which a human brain can be transplanted at the end of  life

2030 – 2035: An avatar that  can now contain an artificial brain into which a human personality can be transferred at the end of life

2040 – 2045:  A holographic avatar emerges

–Kevin Dovak, ABC News Science

Great plan, right?  But the Russian billionaire and all his scientists are overlooking something that’s pretty obvious to me. It’s already been done.

We, the bigger WE, the huge big blob of…oh, let’s go with my cupcake batter analogy and make this simple.  First, we’re a big bowl of batter known as spirit, only without the bowl.   It’s all one batch.  Some people call it God or Source or The Whole.  The batter turns its attention to becoming physical, and smaller, denser, more focused bits, and the batter pours itself into various shaped cupcake cups.  Those cups are our bodies.  Our “avatars.”  They are created by us, to hold that which is our consciousness.  (Consciousness originates not in the brain, but in the spirit that created the brain. But it’s a wider huger infinite sort of consciousness.  Human-ness allows spirit to narrow its focus to the perspective of one unique individual part of itself.)  Each bit of batter, separated out from the rest, is slightly different.  It has minuscule variations in the amounts of sugar, and flour and vanilla extract and cocoa powder, because no matter how much you blend, you can never get every single droplet to be the same as the next.  Tiny variations.  Like .0001% of a difference, but it’s enough to make each individual cupcake come out slightly different.  The thing is, each cupcake form or mold (body) is specifically created by and for that particular bit of spirit that will fill it.  In fact, it’s more than that.  The spirit doesn’t exactly fill the tin, it becomes it, THEN fills it.  So the body we have in this lifetime is perfect in every way, a perfect reflection of the spirit riding around in it. It can’t be anything else. My crooked nose is the only nose that could have been formed by the spoonful of batter that is my Spirit. That uniqueness is one of the reasons The Whole wanted to become physical in the first place.

So, sorry Russian Billionaire.  You wasted your money.  We are already in our avatars. And they’re better than robots.  They’re biological, like the ones James Cameron made, only, you know, not blue.

No, our amazing beautiful perfect for us bodies don’t last forever.  But neither would the robots.  Eventually, parts wear out.  They would rust. Their warranty would expire.  And the consciousness that was transferred into their mechanical brains would have to leave them behind, just like it does when our biological bodies wear out and we move on.

Where do we go?  Back to the bowl of batter?

No, even better.  Forward, into a new batch of batter that is being made better and better by all the ingredients we collected in our most recent physical journey.  And there it gets remixed with all the other new ingredients brought forward by all the other consciousnesses who’ve left their avatar-bodies behind.  So that by the time it (you, me, WE) decide to go pour itself/ourself out again, to be physical cupcake people again, it/we/The Whole are even better and wiser and older than before.  We come into the next life with more knowledge, more experience, more understanding from all parts of the Whole.

And that’s evolution. It’s the expansion of the Universe. It’s why that expansion is speeding up instead of slowing down.  It’s why death is so scary, because we’re going forward, not backward, into a future that hasn’t yet been created, a future we are actually creating by the act of moving into it.

And I got all of that from seeing that article, and mainly, from writing the Portal Series. The books took me to a deep exploration of what it really means to be human.  They’re my deepest, most important projects to date.

And yes, they’re going on sale very soon.  Legacy of the witch will be free on Saturday.  It’s an ebook prequel to the 3 main books, Mark of the Witch, Daughter of the Spellcaster, and Blood of the Sorceress.

MARK OF THE WITCH goes on sale September 18th in print, October 1st in ebook.

Visit ThePortalBooks.com for excerpts, links to buy, free trading cards, book trailer videos and more!

#Portal on Twitter

Make it a great week, folks!  Enjoy the encroaching Autumn.

 

Newsy Post (Maggie)

Great news for me this week, so this blog is mainly going to be me sharing it all with you.  I think the most timely bit is that you can grab the book to the left, FREE all month long, just by entering my “Enter the Portal” contest at The Portal Books site.  In fact, every book on the left hand side of this blog is FREE so read on.

Here’s how the contest works.  Each Wednesday of August I post a new question on The Portal Books.com and give you the link to the answer, close by on the same site.  Every time you answer a new question correctly, you get another chance to win the grand prize of a new Kindle Fire or Nook Tablet on September 1st.  Second place is a Tarot reading and and a copy of MARK OF THE WITCH, third prize, a copy of the book. But every entrant wins, because if you answered Q1 correctly, you got a free, newly reissued novella, MUSKETEER BY MOONLIGHT.   This week we posted Question 3, and if you answer that correctly, you get THE BRIDE WORE A FORTY-FOUR, also FREE.  So everyone’s a winner.  And the questions are super easy, with the links given.  Q1′s answer was in the video trailer for MARK OF THE WITCH and Q2 was in the excerpt.  Q3′s answer is found in the book description for LEGACY.

Of course all of this is to ramp up the anticipation level for my brand new series, THE PORTAL which is only two tiny weeks away from launching with yet another FREE BOOK.

 

LEGACY OF THE WITCH is a novella length prequel to The Portal Series, being released in E-only.  You can pre-order already, but the price listed is $1.99.  That’s because you can’t list a book for free, you have to give it a price.  Rest assured the price will change to  FREE on September 1st, the very day the book is released. And it’s only two weeks away!

After that, Book One, (not free, sorry) MARK OF THE WITCH goes on sale on September 18th in print, and on October 1st in E.

Here are some links to pre-order, or just to check them out:

MARK OF THE WITCH on BN.COM

MARK OF THE WITCH at Amazon.com

LEGACY OF THE WITCH at BN.com

LEGACY OF THE WITCH at Amazon.com

So that’s the big contest news, and the big free book news.  Now for the even BIGGER news!  I’ve just agreed to a new four-book deal with MIRA and I couldn’t be happier.  And you’re going to love what we have in store, because the first book of this deal is going to introduce a continuing character based on a combination of two of my best pals, (of the canine variety.)  My beautiful bulldogs, Niblet who’s alive and well, and poor old Wrinkles who’s moved to the Other Side.  I LOVE being able to put my dogs in books. Niblet/Wrinkles (I think she’ll be called Myrtle in the book) is a blind bulldog (as Wrinkles was in later years) who’ll wear protective tinted goggles and a pretty scarf while riding in the passenger seat of my heroine’s yellow 2002 T-bird convertible.  And as you probably guessed, this is a paranormal thriller with a serial killer. Wait, I’ll go find a photo of the car.  I have many, because I want one.

So that’s what’s up in my life right now.  Everything else is going just as beautifully and I could not possibly be in a happier, healthier place right how. Hope you all are too.

Enjoy all the free books!

Maggie

 

 

 

10 Ways to Make Time Your Bitch (Maggie)

We’re all busy. (And by we, I mean, women.) We spend our days trying to complete a bottomless to-do list and our nights worrying about the stuff we didn’t get to, mentally adding it to tomorrow’s list, and wondering how we’ll ever manage to catch up. So today I’m going to give you ten tips for making your to-do lists shorter, your days last longer, and your nights be restful. Ready? Okay!

1. Accept that you, and I, and everyone, will leave this lifetime with an unfinished to-do list.  Therefore, spending time and stressing over getting it done is completely and utterly ridiculous.  You’ll never get it done.  Let it go.

2. Think about the end of your life, when you’re on your way to the other side, maybe your very last day on the planet.  Imagine yourself sitting there, knowing it’s the end (of this round) and looking back on the life you’ve lived.  What will you regret not doing more of?  Working? Chores? Items on the endless silly list?  Or having fun with your soul mate, you kids, your grandkids, your best friends, playing with your pets?  That’s a quick way to put the to-do list into perspective.

3.  Take a good look at your to-do list, and pick off the things you really want to do, the things you’re eager to do, the things you’re dying to do.  Move those to the top of the list.

4.  Take another good look at your to-do list, and pick off the things you are absolutely dreading.  The things you just don’t feel any eagerness or excitement about, the things you wish would just go away.  Now take those things and put them on another list.  This list is for the Universe, God, Source, Goddess, The Whole, your higher self, your higher power.  Put their name at the top of that list.  Set that list aside, and let it go.  Don’t think about it again.  In a few days, when you go back to check, you’ll be amazed to see a few of the things on that list have somehow vanished.  Either someone else did them, or the situation changed and they no longer need doing.  (Do this with confidence, and don’t do it with anything you’re going to worry about until it’s done, because it only works if you can take your focus OFF the task entirely, basking in confidence that it’s out of your hands.)

5. When lying awake at night worrying, apply this technique.  IF the thing you’re worrying about is something you can fix right this minute, then get out of bed, and fix it.  Poof, it will no longer keep you awake.  IF the thing you’re worrying about is something you cannot possibly fix right now, then understand that worrying about it is kind of useless.  You will fix it when you can fix it, and until then, worrying about it does no good whatsoever.  On the other hand, if you can let it go, it might just resolve itself by the time you get around to taking action.  Also, make a note of the thing that keeps you awake most, and fix it at the first opportunity, so you’ll sleep better.

6.  The above advice, “fix the thing that worries you most first” seems to be in conflict with “do the things you really want to do first.”  But the key is to do what feels best.  You’ve got to be able to weigh your options according to what is going to feel good while you’re doing it, (the stuff you can’t wait to do) as well as what is going to feel good once it’s done (the stuff that worries you and keeps you up nights.)  If doing the dreaded task and having it off your list feels better than dreading the task and still having it looming over you, then do the task.  Always do what feels best.

7. Whatever task you decide to do, focus every particle of your energy on that task.  Be completely present and attentive to the moment.  Let yourself get immersed in the job at hand (or the fun at hand for that matter.)  Whatever you’re doing, do it completely.  Most of us do one thing while thinking about the next five things on the list.  But our lives are NOW.  There’s no such thing as the past, because it’s gone.  And the future only exists in the future.  Right now, there’s no such thing.  Only this current moment.  So whatever the moment offers you, relish it, and try to see, hear, smell, taste, feel, experience every single part of that moment.  Give it your full attention.  It will add so much more to your experience that way.

8.  Even the unpleasant tasks can be fun if you make up your mind that it can. When I’m doing housework, I put on loud music.  I dance around, sing at the top of my lungs, really rock out while I’m doing mundane things like scrubbing the bathroom or washing Dozer-slime off the walls.  (He’s a mastiff, you see.  Did you see Turner & Hootch?)

9. Multi-task, but only with the really mindless stuff.  Okay, yes, I did say to focus entirely on whatever thing you’re doing to experience it fully.  But let’s face it, there are some tasks that are just really not full of all that much to relish.  Like folding laundry, for example, or emptying the dishwasher. I always jump up and do those tasks while having daily phone chats with my girls.  Because with five of them, that adds up to a whole lot of phone time.  I can’t do a lot of things while talking, because I want to focus on the conversation, and complex tasks distract me.  But simple, mindless tasks like these are great to do while chatting.  Gets them off the list, and you’re enjoying yourself while doing them.  Your mind is on your phone call, while your hands are working on auto-pilot to put the clothes away or stack the plate.

10. Make the good things as important as the “jobs.”  Important enough to go on that list of yours.  And break up the tasks by putting the fun stuff in between.  Also try to put physically demanding tasks in between the more mentally demanding ones that are done while sitting still. Intersperse these as much as possible.  Fun, then boring, physical then mental. “Pay the bills.  Meditate for 20 minutes.  Read the Galley Edits.  Go for a jog.  30 minutes in the hot tub. Mop the kitchen. Make the bed.  Watch Oprah’s Master Class.  Write ten pages. Play on Facebook.  Weed the garden.  Write the blog post.

But above all, remember that the list is inherently endless.  The things you check off it today will reappear tomorrow or next week or next month, and new things will come to replace them or join them. Life is about having fun, not getting it done.  The world will not end of your lawn isn’t mowed on time.  And it would be healthier for you to go swimming instead.

Let it go and relax a little.  It’s really more important to enjoy your day than to check items off that list.

Try it out and let me know how you do!  What are your tips for making time work for you instead of against you?

PS: We’re in Week Two of the ENTER THE PORTAL Contest!  Every week there’s a new question to answer (Yes you can still answer Question 1, no worries.)

Each answer gets you another chance at our grand prize, a Kindle Fire or Nook Tablet.  Every single entry gets a free copy of my newly reissued e-book, MUSKETEER BY MOONLIGHT.  And next week, we’ll offer another FREEBIE for every entrant too.  Contest runs all month, at The Portal Books, Contest Page

 

Busy but FUN Week! (Maggie)

I’m having a month of giveaways, prizes and fun like nothing I’ve ever done before, all leading up to the release of my HUGE new series, The Portal.  So let me fill you in so you don’t miss a chance at some fabulous prizes.

First, there’s a BIG, ENTER THE PORTAL Contest happening at The Portal Books website.  Grand prize is a Kindle Fire or Nook Touch, with many other prizes including tarot readings and signed copies.  You can enter once a week (we post a new question each week) and every time you do, you get another chance to win.  Final drawing Sept 1st.

Second, there’s a promo going on all month long at FRESH FICTION where you can win $50, $25, or $15 Amazon or BN.com gift cards along with signed copies of MARK OF THE WITCH.

And today only (I think) there are more prizes at both LITERAL ADDICTION and BOOK MONSTER REVIEWS.  At both of those you can win some cool Maggie Shayne swag, signed copies of MARK OF THE WITCH before you can buy them, and collectible trading cards.

This is all, as you probably know, because of the new series beginning in September.  I’m more excited than you can possibly imagine about the launch of The Portal Series.  It starts with a completely FREE prequel ebook, LEGACY OF THE WITCH on September 1st, and then MARK OF THE WITCH, the first novel, goes on sale in print on September 18th and in E-formats on October 1st.  You can pre-order now at most outlets.

My favorite astrology, Susan Miller at Astrology Zone, says my career is supposed to hit a never before seen high around month’s end and into September, culminating late November.  (Book 2 comes out in November!) so I’m even more excited.

So excited I forgot today was my day to blog, and now I’m running late for my boy Tanner’s baseball game, so I’ve got to dash.  But do check out all the contests and join me in my giddiness.  I can’t wait to see what happens when these books hit.  Times list, (single digits) here I come!

Until next time, Hakuna Matata!

Maggie

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!

Maggie

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!