2021 has been quite a year. I never make New Year’s resolutions, but each year, I ask Spirit for a word that serves as the theme for the upcoming year. Expansion was my word for 2021.
Looking back, I can see the expansion that occurred not only in my spiritual life but my physical and writing life as well.
Ghostly Interference, my debut fiction novel, was released in December of 2020 and I spent a good part of the year promoting it. I am so proud that it won two awards and has now garnered 36 reviews!
I finished the third novel in The White Rune Series. It will be published sometime in late 2022. So far, the publisher hasn’t changed the title, so SADDLED HEARTS it is.
I self-pubbed a short story, MOUNTAIN LAUREL CHRISTMAS, which has been well-received. My heart overflows with gratitude for everyone who read and reviewed this story.
I read and reviewed 91 books in 2021. Coming up with a Top Ten list is going to be harder than ever as I devoured so many great stories! I’m working on it.
I joined Story Empire and have truly found my tribe! If you are not following the blog there, you are missing out on some great writing and marketing tips. I launched a book marketing series and am learning so much I didn’t know before. I enjoy sharing what I learn.
I reached a milestone on my blog with my 1,000th post. I am eternally grateful to my followers who inspire me to keep putting up content!
I expanded my blog to include two days per week that focus on spiritual growth. I feel we are fortunate to live in a day and age when so many tools are at our fingertips. YouTube can provide any type of meditation you might want to experience. We have essential oils, diffusers that put those oils into our living environment which raises the vibrations. We have gemstones from the core of Mother Earth that assist in our spiritual and physical journey. I have enjoyed delving deeper into the Tarot cards and the Runes and sharing weekly readings. Astrological forecasts can be enlightening. With the internet and Google, we have it all. How we use it is up to us.
Speaking of meditation, I found this short one that helps launch the new year.
My word for 2022 is BELIEVE.
When I start searching for my word for the year, it simply comes. It shows up everywhere I look. This year, it began when I went with my daughters and grandchildren to Palestine, Texas to ride the Polar Express. Then I started seeing it everywhere.
I believe in myself. I believe in you. I believe in the powers of the Universe to shift in the direction my thoughts go. I believe in my ability to craft compelling stories and get them out to the world!
The second book in The White Rune Series, JAGGED FEATHERS, is currently available for pre-order and releases January 31, 2022! I’ll be searching for blog hosts soon. 🙂
So, as I close the door on 2021 and open the portal to 2022, I wish each of you a prosperous and peaceful New Year!
I have closed comments as I am going offline until after the holiday. My best friend of over 40 years is on her way to spend the weekend with me!
I have had a wonderful month of reading and discovered two new authors. To me, that is part of the joy of reading, to explore. All reviews are strictly my own opinion. I only post 4 and 5 Star reviews.
A wonderful holiday story that leaves you feeling warm and fuzzy. Grace Donovan has moved with her six-year-old daughter, Cassie, to a new town. She is hopeful her daughter, who has Leukemia, can participate in a trial treatment program. What she hasn’t bargained for is the kindhearted school principal that sets her heart racing. Widowed, Grace has not considered falling in love again. But Cassie wants to see her mother happy and her Christmas wish is for someone to make her mother smile again. Well, and she also wants a puppy. I loved all the characters from Avery, who quickly befriends Cassie, to Kyle the handsome school principal, and his twin brother, Keith. They are all realistic and believable. This story has all the elements to create a wonderful holiday tale. From children to puppies, a sleigh ride, and a romance, it has it all. This is a short two-hour read and well worth the time. Jacquie Biggar is a talented writer and has the ability to draw the reader into the story with the characters. I highly recommend this story for any time of year, but especially around the holidays.
This is the final book in The Lanternfish Series, and I have to say it is an epic adventure from beginning to end. In this segment of the series, we see James Cutler go into debt to refurbish The Lanternfish and put her into service to help put an end to the horrible war between the Hollish and Prelonians. Only this time, his journey takes him from the high seas to a land war with adventures and mind-boggling risks galore. We see all of our favorite characters, Fala, Dan, Serang, Mal, Mule, Biscuit Bill, the Root Monsters, and the Palumbos play important roles in this part of the story. There is non-stop action from the time the Lanternfish sets sail until James returns to his home and wife. The author did a great job of wrapping up all the loose ends for each of the many characters, including the Root Monsters. While I enjoyed all the adventure, the final wrap-up, and many happy endings had me smiling through a tear or two, especially with the lovable Root Monsters. If you love fantasy, action, a little magic, and a whole lot of realism, you will enjoy this entire series. I do highly recommend you start with book 1 and work your way through the trilogy to fully understand the final segment. Kudos to the author for this tremendous undertaking!
This is a very short read and highly entertaining. A theater constructed in 1917 was repurposed and turned into a college in Shreveport, Louisiana. Professor Aston Ross Goldsmith taught in the English department. Everyone had left the building for Christmas break. Professor Goldsmith was packing up to leave when the floor suddenly gave away under him and he fell into a sealed vault with a skeleton and a diary. Convinced he was hallucinating having received a concussion from the fall, he couldn’t believe the ghost of the skeleton was conversing with him. What a mystery that unfolded. I won’t leave any spoilers, but let’s just say the good professor’s Christmas was certainly not dull.
Gisele is a warm and caring young woman who has moved to the Gingerbread Lodge nestled in the Pennsylvania mountains to help her aging aunt run the business. Even though Gisele’s mother (her Aunt Minerva’s sister) is disappointed that Gisele doesn’t want to remain a part of their hugely successful hotel empire, Gisele wants more meaning from life. And she loves her aunt, as well as the lodge where she spent many of her growing-up summers. This story reunites Gisele with a teenage sweetheart and despite the difficulties and obstacles they face, they know it’s fate that has thrown them back together. This is a heart-warming story that is just perfect for the holiday season. It combines all the elements of a gorgeous old lodge, loving aunt, long-lost love, a snowstorm, and a reunited family. If you are looking for a lighthearted read with a warm fuzzy ending, this is perfect for you. I could smell all the delicious cookies both Aunt Minerva and Giselle baked.
A YA novel that every teenage girl should read! Cecilia (CiCi) is on top of the world. It’s her junior year in high school. She’s co-captain of the cheerleading squad, dates the hottest guy in school, Ryan, has a constant BFF, Dee, and lives with her mother in an upscale house. She has everything any young girl could want. Her world falls apart when her mother remarries. Now with a step-dad and step-sister, things change rapidly. The most compelling part of this story is the way CiCi attempts to deal with the horrors that are inflicted on her. The author did a fabulous job of staying in a teenager’s point of view, but at the same time giving CiCi some good coping skills and insights. I do not want to spoil this story for the reader, but it does deserve a warning as it deals with forced rape. What I took away from the novel is a deep sadness that rape happens way too often to teenage girls and that so often, they are terrified to say anything, afraid no one will believe them. The story has a warm and satisfying ending with immense character growth. Kudos to this author for tackling such a sensitive topic in an honest and tactful way. I highly recommend this book!
Journey 9 begins with Haldis leaving Emlyn, Zasha, and Osabide trapped in a different realm within the lost library. There are floating doors to choose from and each holds danger as well as magical possibilities. The urgent mission is to restore Zasha back to herself and release her from the grips of Fotia, another life from centuries past. Thyrus the dragon is only one of the Listeners the trio meets in this realm. And it is Thyrus who restores Zasha back to her current self. At times, he seems helpful and other times he grows vicious. What I enjoy the most is watching Emlyn grow in confidence and strength throughout this journey. She is a far cry from the girl we met in Journey 1. In the meantime, the army of the dead is amassing and danger lurks around every corner. Magical and fantasy are words I would use to describe these journeys. I found more typos in this segment of the story than any of the others, but still not enough to keep me from turning the pages.
In this segment of the Journey, Emlyn, Zasha, and Osabide face intensely unimaginable adventures, from the shocking death of Haldis to being separated from the rest of their party. The responsibility now lies completely with these three to rebuild the veil. Hallr, the King of the Dead, passes the third and missing staff to Emlyn and what a personality change he undergoes. With Emlyn’s guidance, the three pass through the painting of Pergesca on the wall inside the library, and into the realm of the dead where they are met by a giant venomous snake. Thyrus, the dragon comes to their rescue, but there are some very tense moments. Emlyn is overwhelmed by the city of Pergesca once they arrive. It is beyond anything she’s imagined. She enjoys the food that is different from anything she’s ever had. She’s never seen a restaurant. I am worried for Zasha as she left Osabide and Emlyn to go to the hall of the Daes Matres, but she hasn’t returned. I can’t wait to see what adventures await these three next. And what a gorgeous cover this book has! As others have said, I do recommend that you start with Journey 1 if you decide to read this fantasy. Otherwise, you will be lost.
That’s it. I hope you found something new to pique your interest!
This will be my last Wednesday Wonders post for 2021 and I wanted to share a super special stone with you that I spent several years searching out to find the right one. My piece is about 6″ long and maybe 3″ in diameter. Black Tourmaline is most known for its protective properties.
This is such a gorgeous piece with the tinges of gold and clusters of quartz crystals. Black Tourmaline, also known as Schorl, is a silicate mineral containing boron and a member of the Tourmaline family. It was first named in 1400 A.D. by a small village in Saxony, Germany after their village’s original name, Schorl.
Black Tourmaline protects against cell phones, electromagnetic smog, radiation, psychic attacks, spells, and ill-wishing negative energies of all kinds. When your root chakras are beautifully balanced and in check, this grants you that deep-seated self-confidence to embrace who you are, speak your truth, and set upon your own path to spiritual healing. And Black Tourmaline can pave the way.
It’s recommended to have Black Tourmaline on or around you while using electronics for extended periods of time. Most people don’t realize that our electronics weigh on us energetically more than we think. Black Tourmaline can assist in mitigating those effects.
There are many shades of Tourmaline, but none that hold the protective powers associated with Black Tourmaline. Formed where steamy waters and minerals move through pockets of the earth, this stone is deeply enriched with iron and manganese, both of which help grant Black Tourmaline the charging and magnetic properties that make it such a vital tool in your grounding box.
If you want to cleanse your aura, clear out worries, and fall into the wonderful bliss of a good night’s sleep, then take a piece of Black Tourmaline and place it beneath your pillow. Having it close will help its nature to soothe aches and pains that plague your sleep, meaning you will wake up refreshed and ready to face another day.
Because Black Tourmaline works like a sponge, soaking up all those negative energies whizzing around, it’s important to keep your stone emotionally cleansed on a regular basis.
Black Tourmaline has an appetite and while it will easily digest toxic vibes, you do want to keep it purified to stop its potent powers from getting blocked. You can opt to smudge the stone to clear away the bad juju.
Another way of ensuring your Black Tourmaline piece is clear is by soaking it. Simply place it in a bowl of bright and clear spring water and let it soak for 24 hours to ensure that every ripple of doubt has flowed away.
What do you think? Do you have a piece of Black Tourmaline?
I have been under the weather having contracted a stomach virus and almost didn’t do this post, but Spirit nudged me so I know someone needs today’s message.
Today’s meditation is all about opening to and allowing positive energy to flow.
It is highly unusual to draw two Major Arcana cards for these short readings, but that’s what we have today. We are sitting at a powerful time of the year when we are called on to rejuvenate and get ready to begin a new year.
The High Priestess is the guardian of the subconscious mind and the teacher of sacred knowledge and hidden mysteries. Sitting at the threshold of the conscious and subconscious mind, The High Priestess has an innate ability to travel between these realms effortlessly. She teaches you that the world is not always as it seems and more profound influences are often at play.
The High Priestess signifies spiritual enlightenment, inner illumination, divine knowledge, and wisdom. She shows up in your Tarot readings when the veil between you and the underworld is thin, and you have the opportunity to access the knowledge deep within your soul. Now is the time to be still so you can tune in to your intuition. The answers you are seeking will come from within, from your deepest truth and ‘knowing.’ Allow The High Priestess to become your guide as you venture deep into your subconscious mind and access this inner wisdom. Connect with your intuition and your Higher Self through meditation, visualization, shamanic journeying, and being part of spiritual communities.
When the Queen of Pentacles appears in a Tarot reading, you are embodying the ultimate working parent archetype. You care for your family and domestic responsibilities while also making a living for yourself and creating financial abundance. You can maintain a healthy balance between home and work by integrating the two and finding your place of ‘flow’ and alignment. Similarly, the Queen of Pentacles suggests that it is important to you to live independently, with a stable income, and with enough time and space to also nurture your loved ones. You may be trying to strike a better balance between your home and work lives, giving it your all in both domains. At the same time, you find time for yourself and prioritize ‘me’ time in between all of your other commitments.
This Queen asks you to maintain a compassionate, nurturing, practical, and down-to-earth attitude when dealing with others and your present circumstances. Focus on creating a calm and balanced life for yourself. Be resourceful and practical, dealing with issues as they arise using straightforward solutions that fix the problem with minimal fuss.
The Strength card represents strength, determination, and power.
Strength is about knowing you can endure life’s obstacles. You have great stamina and persistence, balanced with underlying patience and inner calm. You are committed to what you need to do, and you go about it in a way that shows your composure and maturity.
When the Strength Tarot card appears in a reading, you are fueled by your inner strength, personal power, strong will, and determination. You do not rule by trying to control others; you quietly influence and persuade. Others may underestimate your power because it is so ‘invisible’ – but you should see that as an advantage. You can control a situation without excessive, outward force. No one knows it’s you calling the shots. Your strength gives you the confidence to overcome any growing fears, challenges, or doubts. Feel the fear and do it anyway! If you have been going through a rough time and are burnt out or stressed, the Strength card encourages you to find the power within yourself to persevere.
This is the time of year when the veil between the two worlds is thin and we have the ability to experience both worlds, most often in the dream state, allowing us to access our deep inner wisdom and intuition while the Queen offers loving stability not only to ourselves but to our loved ones. And finally, the Strength card is just that – strength to overcome and to move forward into a new year. What a loving positive message!
And here’s the gorgeous Dragon Card for the week with an uplifting message!
The two stones I want to feature today are appropriate for the beautiful Christmas season, as they are both referred to as Angel Stones.
Seraphinite was named after Seraphim, the highest order of angels, due to the feather-like appearance of the chatoyant fibers in the stone. Seraphinite is also known as Serafina.
It is associated with the heart chakra and is a gorgeous mixture of shades of green with bluish tints. It is a stone of spiritual enlightenment and is excellent for accessing self-healing. It is one of the crystals that assist in making an angelic connection and opening the crown chakra. This stone promotes living from the heart, and has a gently cleansing effect on the heart chakra, opening to love. Its feathery wings whisk you up to a higher spiritual vibration and is excellent for making journeys outside the body, protecting the physical body while you are gone. The physical healing aspects of this stone are related to the spinal column, especially behind the heart, and can release muscle tension up into the neck. It is also useful in overcoming chills and promoting weight loss.
Coming from the Latin word Caelestis which means Celestial, it’s no surprise to hear that this shimmering crystal is soaked in rich mystical properties. Celestite is all about inner peace, quiet space, and elevating the spirit. It’s a stone that whispers of deep connection with other realms. With its ethereal energy and distinct heavenly hues, Celestite is one of the loveliest sky-blue gemstones in the world. My photo does not do it justice. Serving as an intuitive guide for those who are ever ready to embrace the new age, Celestite is radiant with spiritual healing and can help you on the path to peace.
If Celestite was a song it’s sure to be a choir of angels singing. One glance at its hazy blue glimmer and you can’t help but feel as though you have been lifted to a higher plane of being. Celestite does a great job when it comes to chakra cleansing and grounding. This stone is like popping a chill pill, it instantly mellows the mind and douses hot heads.
This gentle and gorgeous stone is known more for its spiritual powers, but as the physical and celestial body are connected, there is certainly some knock-on effect. Celestite can help the body flush out toxins and is particularly useful in helping the body heal from stress-related disorders. Whether digestion issues or acne breakouts, Celestites touch is like an organic balm to the body.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this look at the two Angel stones. This is my last post until after Christmas. I will be spending time with my daughters and grandchildren.
We are in the midst of a chaotic and busy time of the year. So, simply taking a few minutes to breathe and connect with Source can bring deep inner calm. The inspiration for today’s quote came from a vivid dream.
Here’s a short but effective meditation to help bring a deep sense of relaxation.
And, now for the Tarot Reading to help get the week started.
So appropriate for the season, the Three of Pentacles is a card of celebration, friendship, and creative collaborations. Your friends and family are here to support you and lift you up to even higher levels of success. Celebrate with them and enjoy their camaraderie. This indicates a very sociable period and I think most of us can relate to that. It is a very creative card and encourages creativity within a group environment.
The Page of Cups suggests a new idea or opportunity coming to you out of the blue. Your creative energy is flowing, and now the question is how you will express it. This card invites you to have an open and curious mind. Be open to anything – including a fish popping its head out of a cup! It is with a curious mind that you will discover new aspects of life and yourself. Open your mind to all possibilities, especially those of a creative or intuitive nature, you will be pleasantly surprised.
The Page of Swords takes the Page of Cups to a more active level. When this card shows up in a Tarot reading, you are bursting with new ideas and plans for the future. You may be excited about starting a new project, pursuing a new approach, or learning something new. You have so much energy that you feel as though you could do almost anything – and you can! The challenge, however, is whether you can keep it up. As with all Pages, the beginning always looks promising, but you need something else to follow through and keep up the pace.
Even in the midst of celebrations, family gatherings, and joyous occasions, creative ideas are flowing, so keep an open mind. Don’t be surprised if you get a creative idea in the midst of Christmas dinner. 🙂 Go ahead and jot it down. Then as soon as you can, begin the new project with enthusiasm and settle in for the long haul to see it to fruition!
It was so much fun getting together with two local authors, Rox Burkey and Judy Lowe, last Sunday and baking cookies.
My contribution was a Snickerdoodle reimagined!
Here’s my recipe for Pecan Snickerdoodles:
3 cups All-Purpose Flour
2 tsp Cream of Tartar
1 tsp Baking Soda
1 and 1/2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
1/2 tsp Salt
1 cup (2 sticks) Unsalted Butter (softened to room temperature)
1 and 1/3 cups of Granulated Sugar
1 large Egg AND 1 large Egg Yolk (room temperature)
2 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
1 cup chopped pecans
1/3 cup Granulated Sugar
1 tsp Ground Cinnamon
Candied Pecans (I used Trader Joe’s)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Line two large cookie sheets with parchment paper or use silicone baking mats.
Make topping and set aside – mix cinnamon and sugar together. The candied pecans are pressed into the soft cookie as soon as they are removed from the oven.
Make the cookie dough. Whisk together the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda cinnamon, and salt in a medium bowl.
In a large bowl, mix butter and granulated sugar together using your mixer’s high-speed setting until creamy and smooth (about 2 minutes). Add egg, egg yolk, and vanilla extract. Beat on medium-high speed until combined. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl with a spatula as needed. With the mixer running on low speed, slowly add dry ingredients to wet ingredients in three different parts. Fold in chopped pecans. The dough will be thick and I wound up using my hands to mix in the pecans.
Roll cookie dough into balls (about 1.5 Tablespoons of cookie dough each). Roll the dough balls in the cinnamon-sugar topping.
Arrange 3″ apart on the baking sheets.
Bake cookies for ten minutes. They will be puffy and soft. While they are still warm, press a candied pecan into the center of each cookie.
Allow to cool on the baking sheet for at least ten minutes before transferring them to wire racks.
These are super yummy and a little different from the ordinary Snickerdoodle!
Today, I want to share with you a common gemstone that packs quite a powerful punch. Amazonite is a feel-better stone.
These are just a few Amazonite pieces I have scattered throughout the house. My favorite is the gorgeous bracelets that I wear often.
Amazonite has always been prized for its beauty and healing power. This pale green mineral rock is believed to date back as far as the 10th century BC.
Amazonite stones are also thought to have tremendous healing abilities. Similar to jade, amazonite is associated with money, luck, and overall success. It’s known as the “gambler’s stone,” encouraging good luck and fortune, especially when combined with Tiger’s Eye.
Amazonite is said to have a soothing effect on the nervous system. Since the nervous system controls our emotions a great deal, this stone is said to soothe tense and aggravated situations and to enhance love, especially when combined with Rose Quartz.
Since this stone is associated with the throat and heart, it is best when worn as a necklace near these areas. Amazonite is said to bestow truth, honor, and integrity to its wearer.
Amazonite is used to treat fatigue, trauma, or anything else that may take energy away from a person. Amazonite is said to help with thyroid gland issues and also aids in treating alcoholism. It has a gentle healing quality that is useful to nearly everyone in a general manner.
I’d love to hear from you. Do you have this gorgeous stone?
Fellow Wild Rose Press author, Amber Daulton, has a new release that I am super thrilled to show you! This sounds like a compelling read. But I’ll let her tell you about it!
About the book:
Lies. Betrayal. A million-dollar bounty. After an undercover mission goes awry, DEA agent Jarrett Brandt hides out in the last place he wants to be—his hometown. Now he’s stuck with his judgmental parents and the memory of his perfect brother hanging over his head. His one bright light? Marissa Reinn Brandt—his high school sweetheart and former sister-in-law. Marissa lost Jarrett once before. No way will she let him back in; then her son offers him their guestroom. His wicked charm and smoldering stares are hard to resist, but she’ll make him work to reclaim his spot in her bed. When his enemies close in, how will Jarrett keep Marissa and her son safe, or will he lose his shot at redemption? Want to find out how this second-chance couple will keep strong when Jarrett’s past follows him home? This sexy, roller-coaster ride of a novella will keep you on the edge of your seat.
Marissa grabbed her plate and headed to the kitchen. How would she get through this? Better yet, how would she console her son when Jarrett left? Footsteps resounded softly behind her. The hair on her nape rose. She stuffed her plate in the trashcan and scowled at the source of her problems.
“I’m sorry. If staying here will be an inconvenience, I’ll tell Jason I can’t.”
“He’ll blame me.”
“No, I’ll say I have to go back to San Francisco for work or Montana for the ski trip. He’ll understand.”
She barked a laugh. “Have you lost your mind? He’ll scream and beg you to stay. Once you leave, he’ll cry for hours.”
“Marissa, what do you want from me? I can’t stay forever. I don’t want to hurt him—or you—I swear it, but I will leave. It’s only a matter of when, not if.”
She grasped the counter to keep steady. “I know that. Jason and I are not good enough reasons for you to give up the life you’ve built in California, and I would never ask it. I’ll understand when you go, but Jason won’t, not that it’s any of your concern. I’ll deal with his pain when the time comes.”
He cursed. “You sure know how to make a man feel like shit.”
“That’s not my intention.”
“Doesn’t change the facts.” He grabbed his phone from his pants pocket. “Am I staying here or not?”
If only she could toss him out on his ass. “You’re staying.”
“Okay. I’ll call my boss and let him know your address.”
“Fine. I’ll show you to the guestroom when you’re ready.”
Amber Daulton is the author of the romantic-suspense series Arresting Onyx and several standalone novellas. Her books are published through Daulton Publishing, The Wild Rose Press, and Books to Go Now, and are available in ebook, print on demand, audio, and foreign language formats. She lives in North Carolina with her husband and demanding cats.