Monday, January 2, 2017

15 Important Things I Have Learned by Age 50

Originally posted on 12/24/2014. 
Decided to start 2017 with the same lessons learned. Enjoy!

On January 1st, I will be fifty years old.

Yes, the "Big 5 - 0".

Life sure does fly by when you are having fun (or working too much or caring for farm animals or fill in the blank). But if life flies by and you have not learned much, then that is a travesty.

So, I could not think of a better time than now to note a few of the important things I have learned in these past fifty years. 

In no certain order or level of importance, here they are:

1.  For every mistake made in life, there is a lesson to be learned. Do not dwell on the mistake, focus on the lesson.

2.  Self esteem is not something you are born with, it takes years to develop. So parents, the best thing you can teach your kids is the importance of self worth and confidence at an early age.

3.  Do not be in a hurry to grow up.  Childhood only lasts a fraction of your lifetime, enjoy it and keep playing as a child would - well into your adult and senior years.

4.  Use your finest set of china (nice outfit, new shoes, fill in the blank) that your were saving for that special occasion. Today is that special occasion.

5.  Let go of anger, hatred, greed, jealousy, etc. Keeping any of it inside only hurts one person - yourself.

6.  Have a pet.  Does not matter what kind of pet, just have a pet.

7.  Do not try to control others, it never leads to anything good. You are only in control of yourself and your own emotions.

8.  Do not allow friends, family or anyone else to treat you badly. The first offense may be free, after that a huge penalty should be given - including removing yourself from the situation.

9.  There will be many love partners in your life. The trick is picking the right one that you want to spend the rest of your life with.

10. Always save room for dessert, especially if it has chocolate in it. In fact, sometimes having dessert before a meal is great. Even better, dessert as the meal many times is the perfect thing to have.

11. If you have not been able to fit into those "skinny jeans" for over a year, then toss them out or give them to charity. (Maybe because you saved room for dessert?)

12. Laugh more at yourself and do not take life so seriously.

13. Tell your loved ones that you love them - every day.  No one is guaranteed tomorrow.

14. Do not let fear or anxiety talk you out of the things that you really want to do in life.  Carpe Diem!

15. Lastly, just be real.  Be yourself, warts and all.  Because that is what you have to offer the world and no one else can be YOU!

Happy New Year - 2017 !

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Energized by Gratitude

It has been four months. Four long months since I have written a blog post. It has been longer than that for any progress in writing my third "I.T. Geek to Farm Girl Freak" book or the second book in the "Shelly Martin" series.

After so many months away, surveying the horizon that is the indie author world seems like a foreign landscape. I see others plugging along and writing, editing, publishing, releasing and selling their works. I wish them well. I realize how hard they are working. I hope to get back to doing the same thing very soon. Whether I actually do is another question ...

What have I been doing the past four months, you ask?

Living life outside of the virtual reality that is social media is the only answer I can give you. Life has gotten in the way of writing and of interacting much with on-line friends or groups. But this is not necessarily a bad thing ... Taking a break from all of the on-line craziness that often times is just a major time-sucking waste of energy. This is especially true in an election year, where abnormally large amounts of energy is exhausted while discussing politics and arguing about who is the best candidate for the job.

Which brings me to the first point that I want to make about "energy".

I have a limited amount of it. We all do.

I have been using a lot of physical energy as well as mental energy dealing with caring for two pieces of property - a one-acre newly purchased plot and a 15-acre farm that my husband and I have had for about seven years. On the rare days that I am not working 10-12 hours a day on either one of these properties, I take a little time out for myself and escape for a few hours of "me" time, which usually entails a nap or a check of email or a run to town for needed groceries, animal feed and/or other sundry items.

I have even been able to take a "real" vacation this summer. Have not had one in over 10 years, so this was a big thing for me. (I went to France for 10 days with my sister. The hubs had to stay home and care for the animals).  I wished he could have gone as well, but hiring a farm sitter would have cost more than his plane ticket ...

I am not complaining at all about this rural lifestyle that I have chosen to live, quite the contrary. I am grateful that I have enough energy to do all of these mental and physical things as well as take a much-needed vacation. Many people my age and even younger do not have the energy to do what I do on a daily basis. I am thankful that I am "retired" from Corporate America at the moment and do not have to juggle an "off-the-farm" job as well.

No, complaining would take too much of my precious energy, but gratitude definitely fills the tank back up.

You see, I start my day before the sun comes up - in the arms of gratitude. I end the day after the sun goes down - also in the arms of gratitude. The connection between the two is what makes me ready for each new day. Without one or the other, the days would be much harder to get through.

Maybe tomorrow I will have the energy to get back to writing. If not, I am just grateful that I have the option not to.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Book Review Spotlight - Gypsies, Tramps and Weeia by Elle Boca


Gypsies, Tramps and Weeia by Elle Boca is book one of the Weeia Marshals series and a wonderful addition to the entire Weeia collection.

I have read each book in the Weeia collection and love this new story line as well as the new protagonist, Danni. I adore the fact that Ernie from the previous Weeia series is a large part of the latest story. Although I still miss Amy and the gang from the original series, Ms. Boca has done a wonderful job of breaking out into a different direction with this latest edition.

Paris as the setting for a Danni as a young cadet trying to prove her worth to the Weeia elite is an excellent locale for this story. Danni is wonderfully developed and is both likable and a person the reader can root for to succeed in her new assignment in France and her Weeia missions while there. She is rough around the edges, but time in Paris may just soften her up a little bit ... If Weeia leader, Patrick and her boss, Francois have their way, she might even wear a dress one day.

Looking forward to the next book in the series as a beta reader as well as a fan of the very talented Elle Boca.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Book Review Spotlight - A Rose In Bloom by Tamie Dearen

A Rose in Bloom by Tamie Dearen is a sweet, funny and romantic story where love finds a way -  even between two very stubborn people.

Elyssa Rose is focused on making her floral shop a success, which is hard to do when Jaxon McCall wants to buy the building that her shop is in to expand his gym business. While Elyssa and Jaxon are bickering about the building, they finally notice that they are attracted to one another. Of course, they cannot admit it, but go to great lengths to hid their growing love for one another.

I enjoyed reading this short novella and look forward to reading more from this very talented author. If you like clean, sweet and romantic novellas that have several twists and turns, A Rose in Bloom certainly fits the bill.

About the Author

Tamie Dearen has been married to her very romantic husband since 1982. They have two beautiful daughters, two amazing son-in-laws, and one awesome grandson. She plays piano, flute, harmonica, keyboards, and guitar, and loves composing and art. And she hates housework. A dentist in private practice for thirty years, Tamie stays busy playing on her church's praise team and teaching graduate students each week. In her spare time, she escapes the real world by writing books.

Tamie met her husband as a freshman in college when she acted out of character on a whim. One night in the library lobby, she spied a cute guy with his first name written on the back of his shirt. She called out his name. When he approached to talk to her, she pretended that she'd met him before, asking about his classes and how he liked college. To her surprise and delight, he also pretended that he knew her, but of course he didn't know her name. They continued this false relationship for two months. Each time they saw each other,an event which occurred three times per week at the cafeteria, he would pretend he knew her. Meanwhile, all of Tamie's friends were careful not to reveal her name to him. When he finally admitted his ignorance of her name, he was astonished to learn the truth. And the rest is history.

Contact Tamie on her webpage at

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

The Gladiator and the Guard by Annie Douglass Lima

I'm excited to announce that my young adult action and adventure novel, The Gladiator and the Guard, is now available for purchase! This is the second book in the Krillonian Chronicles, sequel to The Collar and the Cavvarach

First Things First: a Little Information about Book 1: 

Bensin, a teenage slave and martial artist, is desperate to see his little sister freed. But only victory in the Krillonian Empire's most prestigious tournament will allow him to secretly arrange for Ellie's escape. Dangerous people are closing in on her, however, and Bensin is running out of time.  With his one hope fading quickly away, how can Bensin save Ellie from a life of slavery and abuse?

What is the Collar for, and What is a Cavvarach?

The story is set in a world very much like our own, with just a few major differences.  One is that slavery is legal there.  Slaves must wear metal collars that lock around their neck, making their enslaved status obvious to everyone.  Any slave attempting to escape faces the dilemma of how and where to illegally get their collar removed (a crime punishable by enslavement for the remover).  

Another difference is the popularity of a martial art called cavvara shil.  It is fought with a cavvarach (rhymes with "have a rack"), a weapon similar to a sword but with a steel hook protruding from partway down its top edge.  Competitors can strike at each other with their feet as well as with the blades.  You win in one of two ways: disarming your opponent (hooking or knocking their cavvarach out of their hands) or pinning their shoulders to the mat for five seconds.

Click here to order The Collar and the Cavvarach from Amazon 
for $2.99 a discounted price of just 99 cents through May 30th!
And now, The Gladiator and the Guard, with another awesome cover by the talented Jack Lin!

Bensin, a teenage slave and martial artist, is just one victory away from freedom. But after he is accused of a crime he didn’t commit, he is condemned to the violent life and early death of a gladiator. While his loved ones seek desperately for a way to rescue him, Bensin struggles to stay alive and forge an identity in an environment designed to strip it from him. When he infuriates the authorities with his choices, he knows he is running out of time. Can he stand against the cruelty of the arena system and seize his freedom before that system crushes him?

Click here to order The Gladiator and the Guard in Kindle format from Amazon 
for $2.99 a discounted price of just 99 cents through May 30th

Click here to order The Gladiator and the Guard from Smashwords (for Nook or in other digital formats) 
for $2.99 a discounted price of just 99 cents through May 30th!

Annie Douglass Lima spent most of her childhood in Kenya and later graduated from Biola University in Southern California. She and her husband Floyd currently live in Taiwan, where she teaches fifth grade at Morrison Academy. She has been writing poetry, short stories, and novels since her childhood, and to date has published twelve books (two YA action and adventure novels, four fantasies, a puppet script, and five anthologies of her students’ poetry). Besides writing, her hobbies include reading (especially fantasy and science fiction), scrapbooking, and international travel.

Connect with the Author Online:

Now, enter to win an Amazon gift card or a free digital copy of The Collar and the Cavvarach!

Or find the giveaway at this link:

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Book Review Spotlight - Collective Mind by Vasily Klyukin

Collective Mind by Vasily Klyukin is a thought-provoking, futuristic story of the potential of the human race to do great things. It is also a story of the repercussions that occur when humankind does not know how the technology will affect the population enamored by it's grip on society.

Isaac Leroy is a young man of little means and has a sister who is gravely ill. He feels his only option to get the funds necessary for his sister's operation is to sell his creative mental energy to the Collective Mind. The Collective Mind is willing to pay a handsome sum for his level of creativity, but the outcome of this would basically render him uncreative and at a monumental loss for critical thinking. Fate intervenes in Isaac's decision to be downloaded when he becomes entangled in a terrorist plot on the very day that his mind is to be drained of its OE (Orange Energy). He leaves the download facility with his faculties intact and with knowledge of the terrible side effects that the procedure causes.

As Isaac becomes more knowledgeable of the downside to the procedure, he recruits other like-minded, highly creative people to help him in his goal to expose the true outcome to the human minds that have been downloaded. Aside from Isaac, a whole cast of characters comes into play - Bikie (a Harley-driving bar bouncer), Michelle (a world-travelling millionairess), Professor Link (the scientist who created the Collective Mind technology), Pascal (Isaac's best friend who had his creativy drained), Pellegrini (the police commissioner) and the unassuming Paul Wolanski (the man funding Isaac and Bikie's mission).

The twist and turns in the story-line kept me turning the pages to see what would happen next. I could not help but root for Isaac and his team to complete their heroic mission of changing the world for the better and exposing the lies that the Collective Mind and its creators so skillfully kept hidden from the world's population.

For a debut science fiction novel, this was a very good read. The characters were well-developed and the plot was unique and different. I would definitely recommend it to those who like futuristic, thought-provoking stories that engage not only the mind, but its capacity for critical thought.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

My Top 10 Indie Reads of 2015

Refracted (The Celadon Circle Book 2) by Nicole Storey is the much anticipated and thoroughly riveting sequel to Blind Sight (The Celadon Circle Book 1).

I had read Blind Sight a while back and could not wait for the next installment in this well-crafted and superbly written series. Ms. Storey has delivered a sequel that will keep you on the edge of your seat and carry you through every emotion you could possibly have as she spins this latest tale of Angels, Demons, Heaven and Hell.

When Blind Sight ended, Jordan was taken by her demon father, Aamon to live with him and Jordan's half-siblings. Jordan's brothers (Nathan and Quinn) and her uncle (Casen) will stop at nothing to get Jordan back from the clutches of evil. But, when their Guardian Angel, Gabriel is replaced by another (Illyria) to watch over them, Jordan's brothers and uncle face a difficult time in trying to rescue Jordan.

Jordan must come to grips with her newfound powers of good and evil along with reconciling the fact that her real father is a demon. Jordan is torn between her demon family, her human family and what the Celadon Circle wants from her. All the while, Jordan matures by leaps and bounds to save not only herself, but also those she loves - even if she must die trying.

I absolutely adored this book! Blind Sight was great, but the author has definitely knocked the ball out of the park with Refracted. It is one book that I will read again - which is something I seldom do, so that speaks volumes on how much I loved it.

I would recommend this to those who like fast-paced, no holds barred fantasy and coming of age stories.

Very well done, Ms. Storey!

Thompson Road by Scott Wyatt is a wonderfully written, fast-paced and heartfelt story of love found and love lost with moments of happiness and grief thrown in for good measure.

The main love story of Raleigh and Mona could happen during any decade, but the time period of the 1930's through the 1950's is a perfect time for the setting of the novel. Not too give too much detail here, Raleigh grows up and lives his life and Mona also goes on to live the life of a mentally challenged young adult with many decisions in life forced upon her by other adults.

Both characters went through so much during the timespan of the novel that I laughed, cried and experienced every emotion in between. The realistic twists and turns that were dished out kept me turning the pages to see what would happen next. Many parts of the story had me reaching for tissues, but all in all a highly recommended read.

A Life Interrupted by Lauri Fern is an inspirational and endearing coming of age story from the perspective of a teenage girl who has to move from NYC to Florida.

Sophie does not want to move, but she has no choice. She is a teenager and her dad has a new job in Florida. Teenage angst is in full-bloom as Sophie refuses to like the idea of living in hot, humid Florida when all she has ever known has been the bright lights and big city life of NYC.

Once in Florida, her parents try to get her to mingle with the locals, but Sophie is stubborn. Her mom convinces her to get outside and get a life during summer vacation before her next year of school begins. Finally, Sophie relents, then checks out the beach and serendipitously gets "surfed" into by a cute surfer guy, Trent. One thing leads to another and the two are brought closer together by fate and by wildlife rescue volunteering.

I could completely relate to Sophie's story, as I too was transplanted from the New York area to Florida as a kid. Some of the insights from Sophie made me recall what it was like for me when I had to move to Florida due to my dad's employment - did not like it one bit, but then adjusted to it.

The details of Florida were spot on from a teenagers point of view and it was great to see Sophie adjust and grow up a bit throughout the story. The authors' knowledge of bird rescue and Florida came shining through each page, in vivid detail. I could see the beach, the birds and the beach side communities jumping from the pages as I read.

I would definitely recommend A Life Interrupted to those who like Young Adult stories. Just one caveat - there is a bit of profanity in the book, but it does not take away from the storyline at all. Looking forward to more from this very talented author.

Cold Water Bridegroom by B. Brumley is a markedly fresh and new fantasy tale from the shores of San Francisco to the depths of the Pacific Ocean.

The story centers around Calder Brumen, an artist who is drawn to the ocean and to painting it in all of its beautiful splendor. He is captivated by the memories of a mermaid named Gaire who he swears is too realistic to be only a dream. He feels he might be going insane until he finds sand in his bed one morning after an all too real sensual dream of the wayward mermaid. Confused and in need of some friendly reassurance, he meets up with Mike Love, his wealthy friend and cohort for some drinks and a guy's night out on the town. Life as they both know it from that point on will never be the same ...

I thoroughly enjoyed this novella from the cover page to the fine details which included nautical symbols throughout each chapter. The events in the story were well-paced and the story-line flowed so seamlessly that I had read over half of the book in one sitting before realizing it.

Although the subject of mermaids is not a new one, Ms. Brumley breathed new life into it and made this story unique and enjoyable - something that is at times hard to do when writing about folk lore and fantastical creatures that have been written about before.

For a debut offering, Cold Water Bridegroom is one I will not soon forget. I am hoping to see a sequel in the future of this wonderfully woven tale.


Charlie Robot by Benedict Martin is everything you would expect and much, much more in a science fiction tale of artificial intelligence gone haywire.

Charlie is one of three scientists who create Steven, the first robot of its kind - one that is self aware and constantly adapting to his environment. Doug, the lead scientist mistakenly leaves a door unlocked and Steven escapes. Naomi, the third scientist allows Charlie to stay at her home, as Charlie's home was destroyed in a fire just prior to Steven escaping from the lab. Doug convinces Charlie that he must pretend to be the robot or their funding will be taken away. Charlie reluctantly agrees and finds himself being poked, prodded and made a spectacle of at various company sponsored events.

All of this leads to Charlie becoming angry and embarrassed. He threatens to expose to the investors and the public that he is a human and that Doug is trying to defraud them, but not before he threatens to go to a competitor and divulge other secrets. Before that can happen, a juicy tid-bit of information is given to Charlie that will shatter his view of reality and stop him from ruining his life.

From the first chapter to the very end of the book, Charlie Robot kept me fascinated and enthralled with the numerous twists in the story line. Some parts were laugh-out-loud funny and some parts were very sad, but overall a very good read.

If you like light-hearted science fiction, I highly recommend Charlie Robot.

Her Imaginary Husband by Lia London is a sweet, funny and squeaky clean romance novel.

The story begins with Nikki Fallon during her last few days as a deli counter worker. She is happy to leave the deli job and start her full-time career as a new teacher at the local high school. Once she starts her new job as a teacher, two eligible bachelors at the school take a keen interest in her marital status. Having been broken-hearted before, Nikki decides to wear a wedding band and tell everyone that she is married to avoid any attention from these new men in her life. But, of course, that initial lie leads to other lies and Nikki is left juggling stories and trying not to let the truth come out. From one hilarious moment to the next, Nikki fumbles through the first few weeks of school and learns the ropes of being a new, young teacher in a school filled with teenage trials and tribulations. But in the end, a positive outcome is had by everyone.

I absolutely adored this story and could see it at a movie. The characters were believable and I enjoyed the journeys all of them led me on in the pages of this book. I loved the ending!

Ms. London weaves a great, fun, sweet story and I look forward to reading more from this very talented author.

Middlesettlements by Basil Pearl is a short story that will touch your heart and make you believe that miracles do happen - even in the harshness of the wild west of the frontier days.

Zee is alone on the frontier after her husband dies. She also grieves for her child, who was lost in the wilderness on their trek to the west. With a resolve of steel, Zee endures the loneliness of prairie life and keeps her farmstead running without a husband. She is, in fact part of a larger settlement and not truly alone - thus the name of the book, Middlesettlements.

Zee and her faithful dog keep one another company until one day when a couple of men break into Zee's cabin. The story gets really good at this point as an Indian protector comes on the scene and the turn of events changes Zee's life forever. Since this is a short story, I cannot give much more of the plot away, but suffice it to say that the ending has a unique twist that will give you goosebumps.

For a debut offering, Middlesettlements is a very good read - one that is filled with heart-tugging emotion, love and hope in a harsh environment. Looking forward to more from this talented author.

Main Street Murder by Linda Crowder is the second installment of the Jake and Emma Mystery series and one that is just as good, if not better than the first book, Too Cute to Kill.

This second book begins with a May 1st blizzard in Casper and a murder while the roads are closed in or out of the city. Jake and Emma are never far from the action and when one of their closest friends is named a suspect in the murder, they go above and beyond to prove her innocence. As one other reviewer noted, the ending was not closure, so be prepared to read the next book for unanswered questions in this second installment.

I loved the backdrop of Wyoming for this story, as with the first book, the sights, sounds and feel of the area jumped from the pages as I read through the story. The author is a great story-teller and I look forward to the next book in the series.

Return to Return to Finian Jahndra is a wonderfully enchanting sequel to Lenadra's Enchanted Flute and a story that will make you believe in miracles, hope and love.

Leandra is back, but much has changed in her life since helping to save Finian Jahndra from the canker over four years ago. She is grieving a great loss of family and friends at the beginning of this story and must endure a recurrence of her own cancer along with chemo treatments. The future does not look very good for both Leandra and Finian Jahndra - but both must fight a brave battle again and hope that a miracle happens before it is too late.

The author did a great job in the continuing development of the main characters of this book - Leandra is grown up now and must face adult issues, Prince Aspen must mount an offensive against the newest threat to his homeland - an invading army and Songcatcher is a well-crafted character that make the story that much more fun and enjoyable to read.

I devoured the first book in this series and could not wait to read the second book. It was well worth the time as it is one that is full of hope, love, magic and miracles. I would definitely recommend it to those who are lonely or suffering as well as those who like a good fantasy story with a happy ending.

Only a Kiss by Ines Bautista-Yao is a sweetly written story of first love that follows the couple from childhood to adult and all points in between.

Katie and Chris are best friends, they do everything together. But Katie has decided in her nine-year old mind that she wants to marry Ethan, who is the older brother of Chris. Katie makes it her life's mission to find a suitable partner for Chris to marry.

From this one point forward, life unfolds for both Chris and Katie in sometimes funny and sometimes unhappy ways. I could feel the raw emotion of the two characters from the very first page. Both Chris and Katie have heartaches and heartbreaks from childhood to early adulthood and both are there for each other as best friends, nothing more until they are adults.

Not only was the writing exceptional in this short young romance story, but the illustrations on the cover and throughout the book were exceptional as well - beautiful illustrations to go with a beautiful story with a wonderful and happy ending.

This book made me smile. I will definitely read more from Ms. Bautista-Yao.