Posts Tagged ‘reflections’

CommercialThere’s a crispness in the air which is lacking in summer. Fallen leaves crunch underfoot on the sidewalk and there’s a subtle spicy-earthy scent in the air. Your nose tells you the man down the road has freshly mown hay and  autumn wild flowers are making an appearance.

Autumn breezes sweep around you on the bridge as you watch the flowing stream carry autumn leaves on a journey downstream. The quiet music of the wind in the trees is the perfect background for the setting.

It’s time to locate those sweaters and long sleeves you put away when summer came around. Jeans and corduroys are soon to be the favorites when cooler winter weather comes calling. And where are those boots you love to wear?

It’s almost time to light the first fire in the fireplace, bring in something lovely to drink, and curl up in front of the dancing light to read.

What are you reading this evening?

My editor has a new stand-alone book in hand which should be out late in October. So watch for Mistaken Identity, a fantasy romantic intrigue. Meet Krista and Michael as they seize the circumstances in which they find themselves and make it work.

And don’t forget Master of the Fleet, another stand-alone paranormal fantasy romance set in an alternate timeline. Richard LeMarnier, CEO and Master of the Fleet of LeMarnier shipping and Anne-Marie DesPlaines, the seamstress who has captured his heart have some major issues to sort through.

I’m working on the sequel to Viviane, First Lady–Connell, Heir of Belfort, Esperance Book 3. Never fear! I will answer those questions left hanging in Viviane, First Lady!

Enjoy your weekend and the cooler autumn weather. And find something good to read!

For excerpts and insights:



And don’t forget–

–to Share the Romance…

Stone arch and green hills Romance2

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Cancer and War.WayJust before my fifty-first birthday, I wore a new bra for the first time and that evening I had a very tender spot under my left breast. I put it down to the new bra. The next day it was still sore, but I didn’t think there was a problem. Later in the week, I wore the bra again, and the spot was even worse.

Feeling around the area, I found a spot about the size of the end of my thumb which felt like a blister under the skin.  My annual physical was scheduled for the next week, anyway, so I could talk to my doctor about it.

Once she’d examined the area, she said she wasn’t sure what to think. It felt “squishy”—a very technical medical term. The surgeon I saw the next week didn’t feel we needed to be too concerned, but he ordered a diagnostic mammogram. He would remove the lump, just to on the safe side.

Since they weren’t concerned, I wasn’t either. From everything I’d read, a malignant tumor was hard, not squishy. I called his office two days later. They’d received the results, but he hadn’t looked them over yet. After leaving a call-back number, I drove to the training studio to teach the junior martial arts class.

The junior class—ages five to twelve—was always a lively bunch, so I had my hands full. About halfway through class, our secretary told me I had a call.  Apologizing for giving me the news over the phone, he said the tests were back and it was malignant. He would schedule my pre-ops and surgery as soon as possible.

As I hung up the phone, I remembered it was my birthday. Great! Happy 51st Mel. You’ve got breast cancer. The rest of the evening was a blur. From this point to the start of chemo, everything seemed to be racing forward, towing me along.

How did my martial arts training come to my rescue?

My training gave me what I call a warrior mindset. I treated this disease as I would any other threat.  I attacked instead of backing away in fear and self-pity, as I would have before training. I met several women who gave into self-pity and didn’t make it. As one man I met told me, attitude is everything.

It was time to fight. I went into the OR with my mind on fighting cancer. I came out of anesthesia fighting everyone in reach. A male nurse, beads of perspiration on his forehead, said I was a lot stronger than I looked. The next time, I resolved to have peace and calm during surgery, and it worked much better.

As part of my training, I meditated every day and I feel this helped keep my mind calm and my focus on recovery. There is evidence that regular meditation aids the healing process, and I feel it helped me.

A sense of humor helped, too. My poor oncologist will never recover. Nearly every time he stepped into the exam room my daughter and I were rolling with laughter. I fear he took it personally. Our family is known for its wacky sense of humor, though. We can find something to laugh about in nearly any situation.

Exercise is great for overcoming the effects of chemotherapy and I was used to working out. But I had to redefine my terms. My goal became walking to the mailbox and back each day without help, a total of about fifty yards. I would improve for three weeks, go in for chemo, and start all over.

When my husband flew me to Spain between treatments, we walked in the park across the street nearly everyday.  Our favorite restaurant was Vivaldi’s. While he was at work, I had time to sleep and recover with nothing else to worry me. I’m glad I finally agreed to go.

I’ve just turned sixty-one, and my birthday always reminds me of my fight against cancer. I’ve been in remission for nine years, thanks to my husband and our daughter who helped pull me through.

My motto? Don’t let the bastard win.

For more about my fight with breast cancer, go to:


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Halloween has passed and stores are packed with Christmas decorations and gift ideas.

What happened to Thanksgiving?

Thanksgiving is a time to step back for a moment, with family and friends, and think about our blessings during the past year. What events have given us insight or brought us joy since last Thanksgiving?

I think a lot of people rush past Thanksgiving simply because it lacks the excitement and glamour of Christmas. There are no pretty colored lights adorning the sidewalks, no snowmen or snowflakes on the storefront windows, and no beautifully decorated trees in stores or homes.

I actually heard one of our daughters step-daughters ask what the big deal was with Thanksgiving. After all, you don’t get gifts or anything. It’s just dinner.

Has our society become so selfish that unless there is something to gain, there’s no reason to celebrate? If we don’t get gifts, it’s a pointless exercise?

I would like to see our department and grocery stores spend a little time, at least, on Thanksgiving. Why can’t we have displays of table decorations for Thanksgiving featuring cornucopias, autumn leaves, and harvest themes?

How about gratitude journals, even small card-sized ones, to list what we’re grateful for this year and what we’re looking forward to in the year to come?

Yes, Halloween is fun with all the costumes and decorations. Christmas is a beautiful time of year with all the symbolism of the season and presents for family and friends.

But let’s not forget Thanksgiving. Let’s not forget to be thankful for what we have, what we’ve been given. Don’t  rush from and evening of parties and dress-up to what-did-I-get-for-Christmas.

Take a moment to reflect on what you’ve been given throughout the year. Not monetarily, but in life experience, friendship, health, and abundance.

Maybe this hasn’t been a particularly abundant year for you in terms of your bank account. The economy hasn’t been great. But if you have family, friends, a roof over your head, and food on your table, you can give thanks.

Halloween has come and gone and Christmas is on the way. But let’s not neglect Thanksgiving. Let’s make time to slow down a little, take a break, and reflect on our blessings this year.

Have a wonderful and bountiful Thanksgiving.


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Thanksgiving, a day for thanks and reflection,  was always our family’s big day to get together and catch up on all the news from those we hadn’t had time to visit during the year. It was our  time to get together with cousins from around the state and talk about school and friends, what we were reading or sports we played. Our aunts and uncles remarked on how grown up everyone was since last year. Just a day to relax and touch base with the rest of the tribe, so to speak, and reflect on all those things which allowed us the time to come together once again.

After everyone has gone back to their homes, we reflected on those things we have in common, as well as those differences which keep us interesting to each other. We also think about the triumphs and trials of those in our little circle and celebrate those things for which we give thanks. For those who have triumphed, we are thankful for their success. For those who are struggling, we send our encouragement and prayers to help them with their journey.

How much of this has been forgotten in our fast track world of today? I’ve heard very little this year about Thanksgiving and what it means. But I’ve heard a lot about Black Friday and all the shopping everyone has to do. I’ve seen all the Christmas decorations and gift items for sale all over town since Halloween. There’s Christmas music playing in all the stores.

Yes, we all seem eager to get to the shops so we can run each other down to get the last item on our Christmas list, just a day after we should have been giving thanks for what we already have. Can’t we spend this one day showing our gratitude for what we already have before we go to buy even more?

We need to take the time for reflection, to meditate on what we’ve accomplished throughout the year. What do we have for which we should give thanks? A lot of people have lost jobs, taken pay cuts or had companies go out of business. But as one of my favorite childhood heroes, John Carter of Mars said, “We still live!” And according to Cicero, “While there’s life, there’s hope.”

I’m a breast cancer survivor and one of the sayings that kept me going was, “Never give up; never surrender.” It may be from a corny movie, Galaxy Quest, but it was one of my anchors in the chemotherapy sea which was trying to drown me. Another anchor, less elegant than the first was, “Don’t let the bastard win.” And everyday I gave thanks for waking up alive one more time.

So for those of you who have those things you need, give thanks for them and reflect on what made them possible for you and yours. And those of you who are struggling, reflect on the path which led you in this direction and look for a turning point. Reflect on your choices and ask for guidance.  Give thanks for life, friends, family, whatever you have that is good.

What am I reflecting on? My husband will be home for Thanksgiving this year. We can share our reflections with our daughter and three of our grandsons, along with dinner and a smorgasbord of desserts. I am thankful for good health, a home and dear, dear friends who brighten  my darker days.

And I am reflecting on life itself. The miracle of life which I can still enjoy.

Thanksgiving is a time for reflection. Take a look in the mirror, your reflection in the water of a nice clear lake, the mirror of your mind, even a crystal ball. Whatever you use, take the time to take stock of this year, where you started, how far you’ve come and what path you see for your future.

And give thanks.

Piu  tardi amici

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With winter really beginning to show, it’s easier to come into the office and sit down to write for a while. Gambler’s Folly is coming along nicely, as is the non-fiction story of my fight with breast cancer. My cat likes to come in and supervise from my husband’s chair. At least that’s what I think he’s trying to do, though he usually looks like he’s asleep. Just now he’s having a few problems with infected toes, so once he’s in the chair he’s down for the count.
We talk over story ideas, like how to get my hero out of the predicament he’s managed at this point. The cat listens intently, shrugs his shoulders and yawns. I don’t think he’s really into this story at all. Or maybe he’s hinting that I’m smart enough to figure it out on my own. I mean, really, if you’re asking the cat, there is an issue greater than the story.

I’m sure it will all work out in the end. Gambler’s Folly will be finished soon and into the real work–making my ramblings into something resembling a crafted tale. The cat’s toes will be better after he finishes his antibiotics and he’ll be able to get in and out of the chair himself.
And I feel certain that, after he feels better, he’ll really like Gambler’s Folly and be willing to put just a little more effort into it for me, give it just that little twist of magic it needs from my favorite feline. So I’ll talk to all of you later. Time to get the cat and get to work.
A piu tardi amici…..

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