Valentine’s and the Single Gurl

Ah, Valentine’s Day! It’s just around the corner, and with it comes hearts and chocolate and kisses and champagne and someone sunset-hands-love-womanspecial. The perfect recipe for creating memorable, intimate moments, yes? I’ve had a history of such moments, but things are a whole lot different for me now.

Because while the day seems to be reserved for couples in lurvvve, as a single lady, I see Valentine’s Day a bit differently. No, I’m not hating on the day. Quite the contrary!

See, the way I figure it, if it’s a day of love, who better to love than oneself? Who better to treat well and celebrate than the wonder and the beauty that is you? I figure that the strength of a relationship with anyone else is only as strong as the relationship we have with ourself. At least, it makes sense to me!

So this Valentine’s Day, I’m taking myself to dinner. And if there happens to be someone across the table, then great! If not, then why should it matter? I’d consider myself the most important person in the room anyway!

At least, those are my musings. But I’m single, so what do I know? 😉

All the single ladies out there, what do you think? Valentine’s Yay or Nay?

Have an awesome week!

~Melia

Stronger Than Before

Welcome to Take-Me-Back Thursday!

Growing up, I wasn’t much of an athlete. I didn’t play ball or tennis, or do gymnastics. No, nothing like that. Not this girl! Nope. I was a bookworm, instead.

I lived and breathed books. I couldn’t wait to get done with school, with homework, with chores, just so I could lose myself in a story. (I’m sure my readers and author friends are uber surprised! LOL.) The idea of dressing in workout gear and getting sweaty ON PURPOSE was insane to me, and I carried this notion well into adulthood…

But look at me now!

2015-04-19-at-crossfit-intensify-img_5717-263x300Well, okay, so this photo’s a couple years old, and I can snatch way more now than what’s shown, but still… I was stronger then than I was before! The bestest part? I’m getting stronger every day.

Nowadays I can’t imagine life without physical movement, and I find that if I haven’t had a workout in a while, my body complains. Loudly. See, I’ve discovered that, for me, a CrossFit workout takes both mental and physical strength. And I certainly need to maintain both!

What about you? Have you tried building strength in a part of your life that you never thought you could? Please share!

Happy Almost-Friday,
Melia

Breakfast of Champions…Not!

Morning meetings at The Male Observation Lab are generally very early (sometimes as early as 5:00 AM!), and have a densely packed agenda. Often times, we feed the dudes so that they’re perked up and ready to roll. Which also makes it hard to please everyone…

There was a time when I hauled out fruit and yogurt, and had to contend with the raised eyebrows, not to mention hauling most of the food back with me. (Yeah, I got the message loud and clear!) Nowadays, here’s what a typical field meeting breakfast looks like:

20161104_0731071Coffee and assorted sugar-laden pastries. Nice and simple. And while it isn’t exactly the breakfast of champions, at least these get eaten!

Do you have early morning meetings where you work? Any food offered? The coffee and pastry variety or what? Please share!

Happy Food and Wine Wednesday,
Melia

All the Curves

Ooooh! I loves me a good surprise! Which is why roads that curve intrigue me. Think about it. Anything could be on the other side of the bend. A trailhead…a roadside fruit stand…even a boat ramp where I could pull off and sit by the river for a while. How fun is that?

It recently occurred to me that life works the same way. I mean, here we are, motoring along, enjoying the scenery when life curves, leaving us no choice but to follow it if we’re to stay on our life path. And if we look around when we do that, we can come across some super cool surprises! Maybe we let go of old friends and pick up new ones. Or end up in our dream job! Maybe we even discover who we really are because the road turned when we least expected it. And then we decide we like ourselves even more!

I suppose it isn’t a surprise, then, that when I look at the following pic I see something deliciously optimistic ahead…

_dsc0125What about you? What do you see? Please share in the comments below!

Happy Travels,
Melia

In with the New

See ya, 2016…And hello, 2017! 20170101_003622

Raising my glass to you, and sending best wishes for champagne and chocolate kisses, copious amounts of laughter and love, and joy that spills out of your heart!

Oh, and for those of you with 2017 goals, attack them like the bad ass you are (or at least wannabe?)! 😀 After all, we’ve got one shot at making 2017 awesome, so let’s do this!

Smooches,
Melia

Romance Author vs. Stay-at-Home-Mom

Welcome to Mash-Up Monday!

I’m off on some much-needed R and R, so my talented Entangled Publishing sister, Nichole Severn, is taking over for me this week – yay! Take it away, Nichole!

Over the past three and a half years, there’s been a war raging in my house. Not between family members. Nope. Just two sides of the same person. Me. I’m a stay-at-home-mom to the smallest terrorist alive and a Romance author.

There are thousands of us out there in the world of publishing, many of whom handle the two very different personalities like a Ninja Warrior slash Badass Got Everything Under Control Woman.

I’m not one of them.

I am one of the women who doesn’t shower for days because I don’t see any point when a tiny person is just going to pour juice on my head the next day. I’m one of the women who is so exhausted, she laughs at the idea of getting up early and staying up late to write (and I only have one kid!). And I’m one of the women who feels guilty for wanting to write instead of being the perfect mother who is attentive to her children.

Sound familiar?

Well, I’m here to tell you how I’ve kinda learned to balance the Romance author inside me with the crazed, sleep-deprived stay-at-home-mom.

Repeat After Me: You Can’t Take Care of Anyone Else…

Have you heard that saying? You can’t take care of anyone else until you start taking care of yourself. I’ve been preaching it to my author and mommy friends for years. You need to eat right. You need to get enough sleep. You need to…blah, blah, blah. But more often than not, I wake up with a crude reminder I haven’t been taking care of myself and I don’t have the energy or brain capacity to attend to…anything. That’s when Netflix comes in handy. But I can’t run my day like that for long or else someone might call social services on me.

Recently, I started listening to Elizabeth Gilbert’s #MagicLessons podcast in hopes of getting some inspiration and within the very first episode, I had a revelation (seriously, go listen to this podcast, creative friends). A long time ago I realized writing was my stress relief. It was a chance to kill people who pissed me off by day, dying on the page by night. It’s the “me time” I look forward to every day. And when you think about it, part of taking care of yourself is doing those things that relieve your stress. Hence, taking the time to write is actually good for you!

So when you’re getting ready to tear your hair out because your son or daughter decided to stomp Goldfish crackers into your carpet, get your butt into your office, close the door, and put that ruined self-manicure to the keyboard. Your stress will disappear and the entire family will thank you for it.

Leave Your Guilt at the Office Door…Now

Your children will live without you.

To be honest, this was one of the hardest things I had to come to terms with over the past few months, especially since all I wanted to do was write and all my son wanted to do was play. But really, unless you have a newborn that needs to be fed and changed every hour, there is such a thing as quiet time. Which I LOVE. Two hours to myself. Every day.

But let’s address something I’ve been seeing on social media lately first, specifically Pinterest. I love Pinterest. I spend more time on there I should every day looking for things to create when I’m burnt out from writing, recipes to try, and characters to write stories about someday. These are all good things that inspire the creative in me. What doesn’t inspire the creative in me or even the mother in me is, “10 Ways to be a Better Mother…”, “5 Things You’re Doing as a Mother that are Killing Your Child…”, and more degrading crap like that.

Just stop right there.

You want to write? Leave your guilt at the office door.

The first way you’re going to accomplish that hurdle is to stop clicking on those awful articles. Yes, I realize they are also writing mothers, but they’re not getting your head in the place it needs to be to create. Your children are alive, yes? Then you’re an excellent mother. Doesn’t matter that you’re still in pajamas at 4pm (I am!) or that the laundry hasn’t been done that day. Your family will be happy that you’re happy.

Okay, so now that you’ve cut off the guilt monster’s head, schedule your day. Maybe that means spending the morning with the kids, eating lunch, then putting those kids in quiet time for a couple hours (or if you’re lucky, a nap!). Ensure they’re fed, take them to the bathroom, and maybe put a load of laundry in the washer because you can’t live off of pajamas. Trust me, I’ve tried. This way, the mother in you is fulfilled long before you’re sitting down to write and your head is clear.

There. You’re not wallowing that you’re not the most perfect mother, the children are fed and entertained, and the house is somewhat manageable. No reason for you to constantly check on them, no reason for you to not put in your headphones, no reason not to write. They’re alive. I promise.

If You Fail to Plan…

You plan to fail.

All right, the kids are in quiet time and you have your butt in the chair, and your once perfect manicure to the keyboard. Now it’s time to focus on work. Yay! My favorite time of day.

What’s your plan for this precious, distraction-free time? You don’t have a lot of time, remember? Maybe a couple hours depending on when one of your kids has to go to the bathroom again, or they want a drink, or…you get the gist.

So it helps to have a plan in place. A daily to-do list, an author business plan, a notepad or journal filled with ideas for your next scene. Something that helps you get right into the grit of your work so you’re not staring at a blank screen and losing those precious minutes you’ve set aside.

Having a plan for the day is probably one of the most important aspects of my Romance writing career. Wait, let me rephrase that. Having a plan is the most important aspect of any career. By just looking at my daily to-do list, I can self-motivate myself into checking off those boxes of things that need to get done and feel accomplished at the end of those two hours of quiet time.

And if I feel accomplished for that day, I’m not constantly looking for extra minutes to cram in work the rest of the day. I can focus on finishing the laundry (who really wants to do that?), spending time with my son, and winding down for the night.

Looking for some inspiration, my author friend? Start with creating your author business plan and go from there.

You got this, mama friend. Get out there and create something amazing.

ABOUT NICHOLE SEVERN

nichole-severn-photoAward-winning author Nichole Severn writes dark paranormal romance and explosive romantic suspense. She’s the grand prize winner of the 2014 Heart of the West Contest from the Utah Romance Writers of America Chapter and a psychology graduate from Utah Valley University.

Originally from Las Vegas, Nevada where she spent most days at her grandmother’s house watching X-Men, Married with Children, and The Simpsons, Nichole migrated to the Salt Lake City valley to live life as a full-time Romance author.

She resides with her very supportive and patient husband, as well as her terrorist of a toddler, in Utah. When she’s not writing, she’s constantly injuring herself running, rock climbing, practicing yoga, and snowboarding.

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK | PINTEREST

The Virgin Moments Continue

I’m pretty well convinced that this is the year of virgin moments for me. It’s kinda like waking up after a long, long, LONG nap and finding all these cool things that I’ve yet to experience. Like paddle boarding on the Deschutes River.

IMG_7039I wasn’t sure at first. After all, that water was COLD! And the thought of slipping off the paddle board…well, let’s just say I wasn’t looking forward to getting my hair wet.  🙂 But once I got myself on it, I was hooked!

There’s something so freakin’ cool about gliding along on the water with few peeps around. Makes for a very contemplative time, time I used thinking about the characters in the book I’m working on now. I thought about how to take two broken people, make them whole so they can come together and create something bigger than each of them. Pretty heavy stuff, huh?

Well, whatever it is that feeds La Muse, I’m all for it! Unless it involves jumping out of a perfectly good airplane…I gotta draw the line somewhere!

I know there are more adventures to come, and I’m looking forward to sharing them with you, so thanks bunches for hanging with me!

What activity do you participate in that makes you contemplative?

Happy Travel Bug Tuesday…

~Melia

Like a River

20160608_112233Happy Photo Friday!

Just like the beauty of a fast-moving river, release week has flowed so quickly! And what a wonderfully crazy fun time this has been!

Now that DRIVEN TO TEMPTATION is out in the world, it’s time to take a bit of a breath and absorb it all. I’m so grateful to readers who’d taken the time to celebrate with me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. You all rock!

There’s more partying to be had, so stick around, ‘kay?

Have a gorgeous weekend!

~Melia