Sunday, December 20, 2015

You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch

Sometimes I identify with the Grinch a little too well. Like when the Whos are making noise, noise, noise, noise, NOISE! Oh the joys of holidays crowds full of crazy-eyed individuals. There's nothing that can make me lose faith in humanity (i.e. make my heart shrink two sizes) than visiting Walmart in December.
There's plenty of nonsense, garbage, and despair in the world that can put me off the last can of Who Hash. But in the midst of all of the holiday madness, there are moments when I feel the spirit of the season. 

The excitement of little children. Giving anonymously to those in need. Delicious secrets and perfect surprises. Beautifully sung carols. Joyful Christmas music. Twinkle lights. The coziness of firelight. 

It's enough to make my heart grow three sizes.
Along with enduring holiday events (parties, dinners, etc.) and Christmas shopping, we must leave time to Find the Love. Fabulous books, holiday movies (anything from cheesy to inspiring), uplifting music, and conversations with friends and loved ones help me to feel the love and share it with others.

My Favorite Holiday Music: Jessica Simpson's Rejoice: The Christmas Album, Mannheim Steamroller's A Fresh Aire Christmas, Elvis Christmas, The Best of the Jackson Five: The Christmas Collection, Michael Buble's Christmas, and Glee Christmas (go ahead, pick one of the many Glee Christmas Albums, I have them all). Basically, I listen to holiday music religiously all December (and won't tolerate it before Thanksgiving or after December 25th.)

My Favorite Holiday Movies: How the Grinch Stole Christmas (obviously the cartoon is my favorite, but Jim Carrey is pretty amazing as well), The Muppet's Christmas Carol (it's the best Christmas Carol ever and all the brilliant lines come straight from Dickens), The Holiday (feel pathetic during the holidays with friends!), Twelve Dates of Christmas (feel-good RomCom that can be found on Netflix), A Christmas Story (do you really need a reason to watch it again?), White Christmas, Holiday Inn, Miracle on 34th Street (I prefer the original), and It's a Wonderful Life. So many awesome holiday movies to chase away the winter blues! I discover new (good and bad) ones every year! (But can you tell I love the classics?)

My Favorite Holiday Books: The Mischief of the Mistletoe by Lauren Willig, A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, and The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson, Again, there are more, but these are the top three that I always come back to. Also, there's my little Christmas Short...

My Faith and Beliefs: Participating in service, teaching others, sharing my talents through music and the written word, and learning about the REAL reason for the season keep my heart centered during this special time of year. Religion has shaped who I am and brings true happiness to my life.
It is easy to become embittered toward the whole holiday season. But instead of letting our feet grow ice cold in the snow, we can embrace the beautiful spirit of the season and share the joy, laughter, and love with others who are struggling. And believe me, even single and in my late 30's, I find many reasons to be joyful and many souls to uplift with my laughter and love.

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I'd love to hear about the holiday traditions that keep your heart centered this time of year. Leave me a comment below!

Sunday, December 13, 2015

The Masculine Mystique

Dates. Romantic movies. Innocent flirtations at the library. All those ridiculous getting-to-know-you singleton games. No matter what the outcome, girls are always left wondering, What was he really thinking?
I'll admit it, women are confusing. It's part of our feminine mystique. However, no matter how perplexing men might find women, I refuse to believe that it comes close to the torture girls inflict on themselves after an interaction with the opposite sex. Behold the mental aerobics of the average female:
  • What did he mean when he said he had a good time? 
  • Did he just mean that it was a nice time or is he interested in something more? 
  • If he is interested in something more, maybe he just wants to be good friends. 
  • Maybe he just wants to be bowling buddies...
  • Or lifelong buddies...
  • Or lifelong partners? 
  • Ohmigosh! Could he be The One?
No one can go from zero to marriage quicker than a girl. It's embarrassing really.

I could be wrong, but I'm pretty sure guys don't do that. With few exceptions, they tend to be more pragmatic about life. Sex. Food. Sleep. Life's essentials. What else would you really need?

Everything! reply the women of the world. An emotional connection. An intellectual connection. Financial stability. A freaking sense of humor! (I'm slightly passionate about that last one. And yes, I did overuse the italics. On purpose.

As I sink ever deeper into singledom, I appreciate any glimpse into the male psyche I'm afforded. I enjoyed Pride and Prejudice from Mr. Darcy's perspective (until contemporary authors decided that what was missing from Miss Austen's works was a healthy dose of sex). A new addition, Heir to Edenbrooke, opens the door on the workings of another hero's mind.
Philip Wyndham is dishy. There's really no other word for it. When he and Marianne Daventry connect, the sparks fly. It doesn't hurt that he's gentlemanly and flirtatious. Marianne can't help but fall for him. The only thing that was missing wasn't a healthy dose of sex, but Philip's take on things.

Either Julianne Donaldson sensed this or, like me, she falls as much in love with her characters as her readers, because Heir to Edenbrooke provides that missing glimpse into Philip's thoughts and feelings during the meet-cute with Marianne, as well as the details of his life before the events in Edenbrooke take place.

My reaction? *Insert girlie sigh* I loved it. And like everyone who's read it, I only wish it was longer. (However, I can respect Donaldson's choice to keep it at novelette length. After all, retelling the entire story from Philip's perspective would add little new information to the tale and that is what good writers strive to do. We want to add value not just word count.)
For detailed reviews of Donaldson's other books, visit A Proper Romance. There's a little something for the lady in all of us.

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FYI I might have penned a novel from the Dude's perspective. It was a pretty interesting process and hopefully all my hard work won't be wasted. But for now, here's Interlude in the Rose Garden to give you a taste of the direction Jonas Selkirk took me in.

By the way, I'd love to hear about your favorite Dude's Perspective Romances. Leave me a comment! And as always, thanks for dropping in!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

The Power of the Share

This summer I was trying to grow my number of followers on Facebook. The fabulous Raylynn Sleight (i.e. Marketing Guru Extraordinaire) connected me with some fabulous business sharing pages. However, it didn't take long before I noticed a pattern. No matter how many people I followed or how hard I tried to connect with people, I would only garner a minimal number of followers, and it was almost always on a follow-for-follow basis. However, when Raylynn shared my page, it was much more successful.

“What's that all about?” I asked her.

“The magic of the share,” she replied sagely. 

Photo courtesy of
Someone else brought up a related topic recently. (Okay, so they were trying to get me involved in one of those sales scams, you know, refer your friends and have your friends refer more friends and everyone makes tons of money. But probably the only ones making money are the people who started it.) They claimed that anyone can be a salesperson. And, we do it all the time. We recommend books, movies, restaurants, etc. to our friends and they buy, view, and visit those places. Crazy, right? 

The reason they follow through on our recommendations is because we have a personal connection with them. Our friends trust our word. And the better the products are that we recommend, the more they appreciate our good taste.

So, how do we bank on the Power of the Share to garner more followers, better shares, and more connectivity? We open the door to others sharing by doing it ourselves. As an author, I will always share high quality content from other writers. That includes amazing authors, bloggers, and fabulous books.

But I'd like to take it one step further. I'd love to open up my website to amazing writers who have something to say. Warning: I don't read erotica, horror, or anything with excessive profanity or sex and I won't promote with a personal recommendation. However, if you inspire and uplift others, I'd love to let you take the platform. 

This isn't Sarah Does Reviews, but it is share what you love and connect with some new readers.

So here we go! If you'd love to be featured on my website, here's your chance. Leave me a comment below! And as I come up with topics of conversation, I'll send out invitations to authors, writers, and bloggers who I'd love to feature.

Karma is always a good thing, my friends. And helping one another in the crazy world of marketing is always welcome.

Here are some amazing folks who've been featured on my website already:
Misty Dawn Pulsipher
Jo Ann Schneider
Claudia Y. Burgoa
Lisa McKendrick

And here are the newest features on Humor and Inspiration in Writing:
Lydia Thomas: No, I Won't Write Your Memoirs 
Prairie Wife in Heels
Anne Goodwin: When Words Behave Like Toddlers 
Terry Tyler: Art Inspires Life