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Fun, sexy reads

Fun, sexy reads

Looking for fast-paced, sexy romantic suspense with military heroes? All books in the Men of Steele series are connected but can stand alone. Find fun facts and excerpts on each book's page.

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Scrivener Training for Everyone

Scrivener Training for Everyone

Need help with Scrivener? I provide Scrivener training to individuals and groups all over the world through online courses, in-person workshops, and private training sessions.

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Resources for Writers and Scrivener Users

Resources for Writers and Scrivener Users

A great reference for new and experienced Scrivener users, a guide to software and apps that help with productivity, and essays on every facet of writing from the Writer Unboxed contributors.

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Presence

rearview of woman meditating at the beach

I don’t know about you, but my mind is constantly “on.” I’m thinking ahead to upcoming interactions, coming up with strategies to meet my goals/deadlines, ruminating on past conversations, trying not to care what others think of me or my social media posts, figuring out how to improve my relationships, running through book ideas, planning out my weekend, and on and on…

It’s exhausting being in my head. I’m sure I’m not alone, though I sincerely hope you’re in your head, not mine.

So, I recently started meditating (again) just to start my day with a calm instead of a rush. I’m still testing out whether I prefer guided meditation, with or without affirmations—usually without—or just a timer and silence. So far, it depends on the day.

But that’s not really what this post is about. It’s about what makes us feel happy.

A recent guided meditation I tried focused on the idea that we’re happiest when we’re present in the moment. Nothing new. That’s one of the key points of meditation, to focus on our body, our breath, our space, right now.

Can we even be happy when our minds are elsewhere on the timeline? (Rhetorical question.)

Luckily, you can be present without meditating, though meditation is great practice for learning how. Simply concentrate on what’s going on right now. Give this moment, the person talking, the task you’re working on, your full attention.

Some activities give you little choice but to focus (boxing, jousting, watching a newly mobile baby). Which is one of many reasons I enjoyed martial arts in the past, and returned to yoga a few years ago. Both require an awareness of my body and my breath to keep me from taking a header onto my mat.

Even while running—which shouldn’t be that mentally taxing—I find that I can’t hold a complex thought for long (like, don’t ask me to do math) because my focus is on my breathing, my form, sometimes the pain, and my surroundings.

Much like traditional meditation, these moving meditations are a much needed break from…well, myself.

You might find relief in knitting, painting, singing, coloring, or building a bookshelf. Or, you know, writing. Maybe that’s why having a creative outlet is so important. Though when that outlet becomes your job, can it still serve as a calming intermission? (Also rhetorical.)

Other things that tap into that “present” feeling for me are traveling, hiking, watching the ocean, or exploring a new-to-me part of town. Half of what makes a sightseeing vacation so much fun is that my thoughts are mostly captured by the new and interesting things around me, keeping me in the moment.

If a week on the beach or in a cabin is more your speed, that relaxing holiday might be one of the few times that you allow yourself to slow down and fully tune into your surroundings and your companions. Or a really good book.

Vacations offer a break not just from work and school and routine, but from our scattered attention—hello cell phones and email and social media—from our concern about what comes next and all that we need to accomplish. No wonder we can’t wait to take a break.

I’m not traveling as much as I’d like right now—and I can’t do it every day anyway—but I am stepping up the frequency of yoga and meditation (and always running). I’m honestly shocked how much better I feel during and after yoga. Even at the end of a short routine, my muscles and my mind are less tense.

Such mini “vacations” have become a brilliant respite from the whirlwind of my thoughts. I’m grateful to have found activities that give me the rare gift of presence.

How do you cultivate a sense of contentment or find a moment of peace in your life?

P.S. If you’re interested, yoga doesn’t have to be an expensive hobby. There are plenty of free online resources, videos from your library, and even monthly online subscription services that cost less than a single yoga class. In-person lessons are my favorite, but I attend a class once a week and use videos or my own made-up routines the rest of the time. If you’re just starting out, a rug is fine if you don’t have a mat. You also don’t need special leggings from fancy “athleisure” stores. Any workout wear or comfy clothes will work, especially in the privacy of your home. Heck, do it in your underwear if you want to! Just, maybe, close the curtains. 😉

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

May 2020 bring you joy. (Also a new Men of Steele book—which I’m hard at work on—and Scrivener 3 for Windows.) 😉

Writers, if you've been waiting to take one of my Scrivener online classes, you can get 20% off any course for 7 days only by using the code 20NEWYEAR20 at checkout (discount expires 11:59pm PST on January 7, 2020).

Sign up now at ScrivenerClasses.com, start when you're ready, and work at your own pace.

Happy reading and writing!

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween! I was at my first-ever major league hockey game last night and the announcer said the average American eats more than three pounds—yes pounds—of candy on Halloween. How’re you doing on your pumpkin-sized stash so far?

Witch  little girl with bucket of candy.

If you can roll out of the house after eating all that candy, I’ll be on a romance panel and signing books at the El Segundo Public Library Author Fair, this Saturday, November 2nd from 10am-5pm. If you’re in the Los Angeles area and can tear yourself away from the perfect weather, stop by!

author fair flyer

So tell me. What's your favorite candy? (I'm a sucker for Justin's Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter cups and Ritter Chocolate with Marzipan.)

Write Publish Profit 2.0 Flash Sale!

If you missed out on the Write Publish Profit 2.0 (WPP 2.0) deal back in June and you have serious regrets, you’ll be happy to know it’s back for a limited-time encore, now through October 3rd.

Treat yourself (and maybe a writer friend or two for the upcoming holidays) to this epic deal. More than $5000 worth of writing craft and business tools—including my introductory Scrivener course—for only $49.

WPP 2.0 books graphic

Some of my favorite products in WPP 2.0:

  • Mastering the 10 Universal Hooks ($297 Value) from one of my favorite writing craft teachers, Mary Buckham, teaches you how to create compelling hooks that keep readers wanting to turn the page.
  • The Productive Writer ($197 Value) will help you hone your writing skills so you're no longer waiting on your ‘muse' to show up. 
  • Love Letters to Writers ($4.99 Value) will give you all the encouragement you need at every point in your journey, especially how to manage negative feedback.
  • Fixing Your Plot and Story Structure Problems ($3.99 Value) will help you strengthen your story and avoid the common mistakes authors make that turn readers away.

Honestly, I think the Hooks class alone pays for it. Don’t miss out this time, grab Write Publish Profit 2.0 before it’s gone forever. And if you know a friend who might be interested, feel free to tell them about it. Thanks!