Thursday, July 06, 2017

BETTER THAN GOOD


For one whole month I disconnected myself from my life as I knew it. I ran away. Literally. I cut myself off from social media, ignored friends and some family, and spent serious quality time with me, myself, and I. I crawled into my own private little space and I reflected on the past, settled into the present and reevaluated my goals for the future. When I started I didn't have a clue what I needed or what it was going to take to get me where I needed to be. But I had hope. Taking that leap of faith into the unknown was one of the best decisions I’ve made in a very long time.

I needed to become reacquainted with myself. Life had thrown me some serious punches that felt gut deep and had knocked me to my knees. More times than not I wasn’t sure if I was coming or going. Depression became a real thing. I was keeping those I loved most at an arm’s length. I refused to let people in. I was scared, suddenly questioning my own mental health. I didn’t know myself anymore and I had stopped trusting my instincts. It had been years since I’d been that conflicted.

The first week was the most difficult. I was unable to relax, refusing to let myself unwind. I continued to worry about things I had no control over, fearing everything would eventually blow up in my absence. But then those imagined emergency calls never came. I discovered what it was to sleep for a solid eight hours and wake feeling renewed. I watched the sun rise and started my day with renewed purpose. I spent hours in prayer and reflection and extended periods where I thought about absolutely nothing.

I read, devouring books like I hadn’t been able to do in years. And I wrote. There was no pressure, no distractions, and the words flowed like running water. It was a beautiful thing and I was in awe of how much I had missed the ease of it all.

Before I knew it the month came to an end and suddenly I had to return to other people’s schedules, and deadlines, and the stress and pressures that sent me into hibernation in the first place. But I came back revived, and invigorated, with a whole new attitude. I had let go of so much anger and frustration and I no longer had doubts about decisions and choices I’d made. I’d accepted that there were some people I couldn’t come back to and cutting them from my life was for the best. Although I reluctantly reloaded all of my social media apps, I know the necessity of those connections. I reordered my steps, comfortable with the direction I planned to follow.

Although I still experience moments of guilt, I know that I need to put myself first if I am to be of any value to anyone else. No is a complete sentence and I’m no longer concerned what others might think if I use it. Claiming time and space for my needs was life altering. That brief period of self-care lifted a very dark cloud that had been hovering over me. I saw the light at the end of that tunnel. I reprioritized and I am better for it.

In this moment, I am good.

In fact, I am better than good…for now. And mostly, I am immensely grateful. 

Monday, April 17, 2017

MY HEART BREAKS


My heart breaks. A family lost their father today, his murder playing out on Facebook Live. The person responsible blamed his failed relationship, his mother’s neglect, and a host of self-made woes on his decision to take an old man’s life. I’m not sure if his rantings were meant to solicit sympathy, justify his choices or if castigating his partner, employer, friends and family just gave him something to do as he contemplated his next move. And I don’t really care. What I think about this person won’t bring Mr. Robert Godwin back to his family. And I do care about the 76-year old man whose life was cut short so callously.
The suspect is now being hunted by Cleveland police. I predict it will not end well for him whether he’s found alive or not. What he did was heinous and I pray that the repercussions will be far more than he can even begin to imagine. What he deserves should send him straight to the bowels of hell.
The young woman whose name he invoked as he pulled the trigger issued a statement where she professed that “he really is a nice guy…he is generous with everyone he knows. He was kind and loving to me and my children.” I’ don’t doubt that this murderer was all of those things and more. I also wouldn’t be surprised to learn that he had a darker side that only a select few were privy to. That when he wasn’t being a nice guy or kind and loving that there were warning signs his friends and family missed, or ignored.
As a community, we need to talk openly about mental illness. We need to recognize the signs and not be unwilling to express our concerns about our loved ones. And we need to stop defending bad behavior. A man hits his wife and she blames herself. A boyfriend lashes out verbally, leaving his lover bruised and battered and filled with self-doubt and it’s ignored. A girlfriend throws a punch because she knows she won’t get hit back. And then comes the litany of excuses and justifications to make it all okay when it is anything but alright.
Relationships aren’t easy. They require an investment of time and energy and much hard work. Throw in a partner who is less than loving, mean-spirited, or carrying baggage from infancy and that relationship becomes ten times harder to maintain and less likely to be of benefit to anyone involved. Wrap all that in one person’s psychological impairments and the likelihood of a powder keg exploding increases substantially.
In a video posting, the man who perpetuated today’s crime says he snapped. Apparently, his relationship, his partner, his job, and his family had all contributed to his point of no return, moving him to kill an innocent man minding his own business. His blame list is a mile long. But his apathy was even more telling. His dark side no longer secreted away behind closed doors. Today, the darkness he hid so well from those who loved him most was splayed open for all of us to see. And a man who had nothing at all to do with any of it, lost his life.
My condolences to the family and friends of Mr. Godwin. He was a retired foundry worker who had nine children, fourteen grandchildren, and several great-grandchildren. He was much loved and my heart breaks.

Sunday, April 09, 2017

I KNEW...




She was crying. And trying to hide her tears. I watched as she puttered around her kitchen, fixing plates of food for friends and family. I gave her a moment, allowing her to release the frustration that had taken hold of her spirit. I knew that the simple task of plating pancakes and eggs would allow her to catch her breath.
Hours later, she said, “He’s mean. And nothing I do ever pleases him. I am beginning to feel broken.”
I understood broken. I had invested twenty-eight years of my adult life to feeling broken. I’d sworn on everything I held sacred that no man would every make me feel that way again.
She continued. “I have to hold back my emotions with him and I don’t dare cry. If I cry, or show my frustration, it’s a fight. Then he tells me I look foolish or I’m being overly dramatic.”
I understood bottling one’s emotions to appease someone else’s issues. I’d been there and done that.
“There was a man in my life once who wept with me when I cried,” she said. “He would wrap his arms around me and just hold me close until I had cried whatever hurt I had out. That simple gesture always made me feel…like…well…”
She struggled to find the right words but she didn’t need to because I understood. I knew comfort in a man’s arms. I had learned how to trust again. I had found love in all its imperfections and I believed in the overwhelming power of it. I knew the words even if they were unspoken.
“How did I get here?” she asked. And I knew the answer to that to.
I knew that dismissing even the smallest slight because you don’t want to rock the boat, will eventually capsize the vessel. I knew that biting one’s tongue and not speaking up, had never served any woman well. I understood that not giving voice to your feelings and allowing some man to think that what he wants and what he thinks is more important than your own needs and desires, has never served any woman well.
I knew. 


Sunday, April 02, 2017

HAPPY RELEASE DAY!


So excited about the newest edition to my book family!
Announcing the release of A PLEASING TEMPTATION!
Available wherever books are sold!



      Can he open her heart to more than a fleeting passion? 
An ambitious daughter of a close-knit Louisiana clan, Kamaya Boudreaux is making a name for herself in the business world, pursuing lucrative opportunities across the country. But when her best-kept-secret venture—an exclusive male strip club—is threatened to be exposed, the all-work-no-play entrepreneur needs to do some serious damage control. Her plans don't include giving in to temptation with sexy Southerner Wesley Walters, whose buff six-pack body was made for pleasure.
As franchise owner of the high-end New Orleans nightclub, Wes is on the climb to corporate success. He hates deceiving Kamaya—she has no idea that her lover was once the most popular performer at his establishment and guests are willing to pay top dollar for his return. With their passionate affair leading them into forever territory, Wes has to come clean. Or he risks losing the guarded beauty whose own intimate secrets could also jeopardize their future together…

Thursday, March 16, 2017

AN OPEN LETTER




Dear Congress,

You are truly a disappointment to those of us who elected you to represent our interests. Your continued support of individuals who are using the presidential office to progress their own personal agendas to the detriment of the American people is offensive on many levels. With your silence, your dismissive attitudes, or your grandiose partisan participation, you are committing a litany of sins that you will not be able to come back from.

We are watching your actions closely. How you proceed forward with a budget that harms the poor, the elderly, and the disenfranchised, will not be taken lightly. How you reply to allegations of external involvement in our judicial system will be critiqued. How you answer the blatant racism and bigotry from your peers, and your response to issues that affect women and children and those who you are supposed to be speaking for won’t be forgotten. If you ignore the continued and habitual lies that our elected officials spew, we will take note.

How you answer our calls and messages and if you show up to our town meetings will be taken into consideration. Everything you do, or don’t do, will be quantified and questioned and will be fodder for our decisions as we go forward. Because elections will come again. And that comfortable seat you currently occupy may no longer be a privilege you will continue to enjoy. Because we will vote. Again. But we will not vote for you.

Sincerely,

Your Constituents

Friday, February 10, 2017

WELCOME, BOOK DOLL!


I'm very excited to introduce and welcome BOOK DOLL to my blog today. BOOK DOLL recently burst on the literary scene as the side kick to renowned author, Cheris Hodges. BOOK DOLL has been a bit of a mystery to many, but her growing popularity is quickly making her the next media sensation! I am pleased that she so kindly granted me this interview!



BOOK DOLL, welcome, and thank you for taking the time to talk to me.



Hi. Thanks for having me.



Tell my readers a little about yourself with five words that embody the essence of who you are.



Reading is everything to me.

What are you reading right now? And do you have a favorite genre?



My favorite genre is romance, of course. I get to read all the hot new releases because my bestie, Cheris Hodges, loves to buy books but never has time to read them. Right now, I’m reading SynithiaWilliams’s Full Court Seduction.

If you had a super power what would it be and why?



I would want all the powers of Wonder Woman and the other Amazons. Kicking butt and taking names in my underwear, it gets no better.

We know you and author Cheris Hodges have a wonderful friendship. Cheris' recent release, FEEL THE HEAT, has gotten rave reviews and is one of my all-time favorites. Can you spill some tea and tell us what quirk(s) she has that really just annoys you? Well, Cheris is going to be Cheris. She is blunt and a little cray-cray. But don’t you have to be that way to be a good writer? You know what’s super weird about her though, she drinks coffee in the middle of the night and still goes to sleep.

Have you ever been in trouble with the police?



No comment. You haven’t seen my mug shot, have you? (Looks down at phone and presses lawyer’s contact info).

We all love a good romance, so are you dating right now? Is there a special BOOK GUY or GAL in your life?

I’m not dating right now, but I have a huge crush on Mr. Harris, the Original Travel Animal, an international Monkey of Mystery, known simply as Mr. Harris. Your gorilla guide to the best spots to swing into or hang out! But I don’t think he knows I exist. He doesn’t even follow me on Twitter! 

Have you ever thought about writing a book?

Nah, I like reading more than I like writing. I’ll leave that to people like you, Cheris and all the other fabulous writers I got to hang out with in Destin.

What can we expect from you this year?
I might start a blog. But right now, I’ve got to get a handle on Twitter (get it) lol! And make sure Cheris meets her deadlines and organizes her life. Make sure you follow me on Twitter, @bookdahl17, Book Doll the Instagram feed is coming soon.
Thank you so much, BOOK DOLL, for visiting with me today.

(Waves and scurries off with one of my books tucked under her arm. I wonder what that was all about?)

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

#HARLEQUINSECRETVALENTINE

Enter to win a copy of my upcoming release
A PLEASING TEMPTATION and a surprise copy
of one of my favorite romances
from one of my favorite romance authors!
Can you say HOT, HOT, HOT!!