Posted in Books, Border hopping, Guest writers, Writing

Dancing in Heaven is Dancing in Holland!

Today, after work, a parcel was waiting for me on the side table in the hallway. When I came closer, a big smile spread on my face: Christine M Grote‘s book had arrived! Dancing in Heaven made it safely across the ocean.

I threw down my purse, left the groceries at the kitchen table and gently attacked the envelop.

Look at the cute page marker:

When I opened the book, I saw this message:

With a happy sigh I closed my eyes and took a moment to mentally thank Christine for this marvelous gift.

While I’m reading it, Dancing in Heaven will be on my nightstand. And after, it will find a permanent home in my bookchest, with regular sleepovers at my friends’ houses! The story of Annie will spread across the continent.

But first it’s my turn…

THANK YOU, Christine, for sharing your words and thoughts with me, with other Dutchies, through Dancing in Heaven. For the story of your sister Annie. I feel deeply honored.

Your friend,

Related posts:

Here you can find more information on how to purchase Dancing in Heaven.

Posted in Books, Border hopping, Guest writers, Inspiration, Writing

A Book, Dancing Across The Ocean

Christine M Grote. I met her last year. Out there, in Blogging Land, and I have been following her Random Thoughts From Midlife ever since.

I have opinions about many things, but am trying to age gracefully and not continually tick people off with them. Sometimes I can’t help myself.

I write about what is on my mind when I wake in the morning unless my mind is blank in which case I ruffle through my digital photos and slap one up.

Her posts are gentle, insightful and full of humor, writing about nature, animals, her parents and other people, genealogy, the places she visits. And about little Arthur. Her wildlife photos are stunning, some are made in her own back yard (foxes, birds, deer).

Christine wrote a book about her sister Annie, who was was permanently and severely disabled at birth, called Dancing in Heaven.

My sister Annie never outgrew the needs of an infant. She didn’t walk or talk. Our parents fed her, changed her clothes, and lifted her from her bed to her wheelchair and back  for her entire life. Although the doctors who initially diagnosed her predicted she’d have a life expectancy of eight years, Annie lived to be fifty-one years old.

Dancing in Heaven is an inspirational story about Annie’s life, death, and her significance in the lives of those of us who loved her and others who were touched by her. This memoir provides a window into my family’ s life with a severely disabled member. But more importantly, Dancing in Heaven is a testimony to the basic intrinsic value of human life.

The love Christine has for her sister is present in every word, and those words reach out to others, to me. So when Christine asked me if I wanted to receive a copy of Dancing in Heaven, I was delighted. She wrote about what happened next in the humorous post Dancing in Heaven dances across the ocean. Dancing in Heaven needs to be read – to be heard – throughout the world. And its first journey across the ocean will end in the tiny Netherlands. Awesome!

So now I’m in my hallway, keeping an eye on the front door. Waiting for Dancing in Heaven to land in my hands.

Posted in Guest writers, Inspiration

You Might Need to Become an Imperfectionist – by Christine Kane

Another strong and inspiring post:

by Christine Kane

Perfectionism is brutal.

I meet countless would-be entrepreneurs, artists and world-changers who hold themselves back because they need to “do it perfect.” If you’re one of these people, then you know the unfortunate truth:

When you wait to be perfect, you never get it done.

It’s a painful loop, and it often leads to depression, disease, and a nagging feeling that you’re not quite stepping into your life’s purpose.

What you’ll learn today is that recovery is possible! In fact, most successful people I know have carefully cultivated a philosophy that drives them: Imperfect action. In fact, some will tell you that Imperfect Action is the key to their success. I call these people “Imperfectionists.”

What’s an Imperfectionist?

  • An Imperfectionist knows that getting something done is better than waiting to do it perfectly.
  • An Imperfectionist knows that being a Perfectionist is simply an excuse NOT to take action.
  • An Imperfectionist congratulates herself for taking small steps.
  • An Imperfectionist buys herself flowers when she accomplishes something – even if it’s not quite up to her ego’s high standards.
  • An Imperfectionist knows that getting a scary thing done IS the reward. Not the kudos or adoration.

You Might Need to Become an Imperfectionist if…

  • You tell yourself you need to get “just a little more information” before you’ll try something.
  • You have a case of the “Used-to-Be’s.” (“I used to be so good at this!” Or “I used to be so thin!” Or, “I used to write everyday and now look…”)
  • Your mantra to the world is: “I’m just so overwhelmed! There’s too much to do! It’s so hard to be me!”
  • You call friends and co-workers to get sympathy for how hard it is to accomplish your goals and dreams. They often agree, citing how special you are because you have been given so much talent – and how it must be quite a burden.
  • You spend more than one hour per day on Facebook, watching television, or not fully engaging in other addictive activities.
  • At the end of every year, you wonder why you never seem to move any further towards your dreams.
  • You are waiting for your POTENTIAL to finally kick in.

Why Becoming an Imperfectionist Makes You Successful and Happy

Being an Imperfectionist is an Intention.

When you become an Imperfectionist, you finally recognize your ego voice exactly for what it is: Your own personal Success Prevention Expert.

When you become an Imperfectionist, you finally realize how many Success Prevention Experts exist in the world.

When you become an Imperfectionist, you lower the bar – or better yet, remove it altogether. You can thencreate in the moment without any grade or standard. Ironically, this allows for such freedom and joy that you might end up doing a great job. (Or at least having a great time!)

When you become an Imperfectionist, you place your attention on the project or activity itself. You don’t waste it on obsessing about the outcome. (This paradoxically leads to a higher chance of greatness, and a definite outcome of happiness!)

When you become an Imperfectionist, you get things done imperfectly. You then learn that you cantweak and fix and try again. This process makes you Unstoppable.

When you become an Imperfectionist, you finally understand that there are no mistakes. Just judgments.

Becoming an Imperfectionist doesn’t mean you don’t eventually master your craft or calling – but that’s not the starting goal.

How to Become an Imperfectionist

1 – Imperfectly pick one thing you keep telling yourself you want to do.

2 – If you read #1 and think, “I can’t possibly pick just one! There’s too many!” then do not proceed until you have picked just one.

3 – Get a timer, and set it to 55 minutes.

4 – Walk away from your computer right now and spend 55 minutes doing that very activity.

5 – Repeat #4 again tomorrow.

6 – Repeat #4 again every day after that until the item is complete.

7 – Celebrate the item’s completion with chocolate, flowers, or a manicure.

8 – Go back to #1 and start over.

An Imperfect List of Things You Can Do Imperfectly

  • Imperfect Writing
  • Imperfect Teleseminars
  • Imperfect Meditation
  • Imperfect Romance
  • Imperfect Video Blogs
  • Imperfect Vacations
  • Imperfect Scrapbooking
  • Imperfect Launches
  • Imperfect Dinner Parties
  • Imperfect Affirmations

Add your own items to this list as needed. Find a way to let yourself experience them without judgment. And listen to this recovering perfectionist when she tells you that your success is guaranteed when you live by this principle!

Christine Kane is the Mentor to Women Who are Changing the World. She helps women uplevel their lives, their businesses and their success. Her weekly LiveCreative eZine goes out to over 20,000 subscribers. If you are ready to take your life and your world to the next level, you can sign up for a F.R.E.E. subscription at

Posted in Guest writers, Writing

Guest writer Gloria Weber

Today it is my honor to introduce Gloria Weber to you. She is a writer and a friend. Here is her story:

Hi there!  My name is Gloria Weber, and I am a writer.  Now, I was told I could write about anything.  Of course, this sent me into a mental panic.  My mind was all “What do I write about?”  I want you to like me.  Because, in all honesty, that’s why I’m here.  Like the guy in the sandwich board sign, I’m hoping to gain your favorable attention and support.  Eventually, I just decided to be me.

What is me?  I’m a geek.  But, you may have heard… some people hate that term.  Why?  Because of the origin.  An original meaning of the word referred to side show freaks who bit the heads off chickens. But I don’t see anything wrong with this (of course, someone who uses ceramic skulls as living room decor might not be the best person to ask).

There’s also another term out there: nerd.  Personally, I don’t like that term.  Have you ever seen the “Revenge of the Nerds” movie series?  They were nerds.  Why?  Because they sought mainstream acceptance.  The main character wanted the cheerleader and campus glory.  On the flip side, there is the freak chicken biter who just cared about doing his thing.  He didn’t care if Billy’s mom thought him horrid and disgusting, he just kept doing his thing where everyone could see.  The freak is me.

When it comes to something I like, I am very vocal about it.  You’ll see links to YouTube videos or me saying, “I just watched [insert show name here].  Squeeeee!” on my blog, facebook, and Twitter.  I let it all hang out.  It is a call to those just passing and if others are interested in a conversation about it, I’ll have it.  If it falls upon deaf ears or disapproval, I just know I’m not going to stop and I won’t change.

My personality is shaped by the things I like.  And I like a lot of things.  Originally, I was going to list them all, but that would make this blog post way longer.  However, I do want to talk about books.  The books I like to read tend to be fantasy in its many forms, science fiction, and romance novels.  Yeah, I said romance novels.  For a long time I hid this, because I was somewhat ashamed.  I was much more willing to say, “I watched ‘Robotech’ for the fifth time!” than I was, “I just read ‘Truly Madly Viking.'”  (That Robotech thing is true.  And yes, that is a real romance novel and I have read it.)  I tend to lean towards historical romance more than anything (corsets and greatcoats).  Because I love history as well (especially if there are duels and royalty).  It is part of my geek, so now it hangs out there as well.

This is me.  This is my philosophy on geek vs. nerd.  And I hope you have found me likeable to some degree (even if you disagree with me).  Why?  Because I want to tell you about a couple of things that need your support.  First is my novel “Gaslight Demons“.  This is a gaslight fantasy novel about a girl named Sophia Nogard.  She’s an officer and a half-demon.  There’s magic, murder, and secrets.  It is available as a PDF, kindle, & ePub format.

For a much more detailed blurb and places to buy visit Gaslight Demons.

For a book trailer visit:

And for an excerpt reading visit:

Second thing is, my flash fiction piece “Crimson Mail” is in the anthology “The Crimson Pact: Vol. 1.”  There are demons and people fighting against them in many worlds.  It covers various genres.  Twenty-six stories in all.  It is available in all major eBook formats.

For more information and where to buy visit The Crimson Pact

Thanks to my host for letting me do this guest post, and thank you for reading this.

Posted in Guest writers

Writing Old Young – Marian Allen

Today I’m thrilled to introduce you to Marian Allen,  special guest and writer.

For as long as Marian Allen can remember, she’s loved telling and being told stories. She enjoys connecting and reconnecting with people, meeting new friends and keeping in touch with the friends she already has.

Her writing reflects this love of network. No one exists in total isolation, but in a web of connections to family, friends, colleagues, self at former stages of maturity, perceptions and self-images. Most of her work is fantasy, science fiction and/or mystery, though she writes horror, humor, romance, mainstream or anything else that suits the story and character.

Professionally, she’s a member of Southern Indiana Writers, Writing and Promotion (WRaP), and Green River Writers.

In this blog post she wants to tell you more about her novel EEL’S REVERENCE.

Could I please ask your special attention for the wonderful initiative in p.s. she has decided upon. Thank you kindly.

When I began my sf/fantasy novel, EEL’S REVERENCE, which has an 82-year-old protagonist, I was 42. Why did I make my protagonist so much older than I?

I think it was because I had so many older people in my life — my grandfather and his twin aunts were all 82 at that time, and my grandmother wasn’t far behind them. Aunt Libby, the main character in EEL’S REVERENCE, was partly based on one of those aunts, Aunt Ruth.

Aunt Ruth had strength and diplomacy: she didn’t shy away from going toe-to-toe with power and she’d look anybody in the eye and assert her value; she would also choose her words and actions carefully to guard the fragile egos of the young and insecure.

The greatest gift my older relatives and friends gave me, and the reason I’ve always loved to write older people, is that the second word is more important than the first. PEOPLE, not OLDER. Aunt Libby gets tired and shaky, she’s more indulgent of weakness than the younger characters and much less easy to fool than most people expect her to be. Yes, her years have changed her in various ways, but her essence is the same. Inside, she’s a child, an adolescent, a young adult, a mature adult and an old woman: the same person–the same PEOPLE–she’s been throughout her life.
The older I get, the more I realize I got it right. That pleases me no end.

Marian Allen

p.s. One of my fellow authors, D. M. Anderson, author of the young adult novel KILLER COWS, is in the hospital. I’ve pledged my royalties through Christmas to him. I hope you’ll consider spending $2.99 for EEL’S REVERENCE, half of which will go to Dave.

To read more about EEL’S REVERENCE, including the first chapter, and for ordering information, click here.

Posted in Guest writers

On stage: Roxie Hanna!

Ladies and gentleman, meet Roxie Hanna. I met Roxie on Twitter and soon added her to my Facebook too. If you read this interview, you’ll understand why. Roxie is a great writer, an inspiration and encouragement to many, plus a lovely warm person with buckets of humor.

After being in her Spotlight section a while back, I realized that the one person who should be on that stage is Roxie herself!! She was kind enough to tell more about herself…

November 22, 2010

This is so nice, Mar, to be asked to share a bit about myself. Hmm, I’m a nerdy girl. Happy with a cup of coffee in the morning as my routine unfolds and thrilled to settle into a comfy chair with a glass of cab and my latest edits. I don’t keep a schedule per say, but I write or edit every day. And read, I read a lot. So far this year I’ve tallied over one hundred books, trying to read a dozen a month, picking shelves at the library, used bookstores, online shops, and new indie bookstores.

I know what you’re thinking, she must read paperbacks, and they’re probably picture books! LOL. Actually some of them are picture books, but I don’t usually count those. I read fiction, nonfiction, poetry, YA, children’s, plus literary fiction. Throw in the e-Newsletters and e-Journals and I’m in heaven. Next to reading, I probably take more notes and research ideas for my own writing, always my notepad, Sony ICD, or COOLPIX within snatching distance.

So, you ask, who am I? Well, many years ago, when I was a wee young thing…no not that far back. But I did grow up in a business that allowed me to experience all aspects of the newspaper world, along with working in the family’s offset printing company. The smell of ink drove me crazy, but I fell in love with the world of printing, meeting newsmakers, and writing a ‘street talk’ column from my high school perspective. Additionally, I was able to learn the creative side of the company: layout, graphic art, dark room production, and bookkeeping—ugh! Not a great time to learn the business, because it was before everything became computerized.

Striking out on my own wasn’t so difficult, as many self-starters out there know. The gift and the curse of growing up in a family business allowed me to try, fail, try again, and develop a thick, very thick, skin. Fast-forward about ten years and I found myself an adult in a crazy world that was more competitive than anything I had ever seen. Xerox was as synonymous for copier as Kleenex is with tissues. The birth of personal computers opened the door for home publishing paired with the internet, and BOOM! can we say revolution?

While all this was happening, I was creating a children’s puzzle column on my electric correcting typewriter, layout board, and light table dreaming about upgrading to a pc, printer, and customized desk. After the trade-in, I was able to land some sweet freelance gigs, but lost my weekly children’s page when the newspaper I contracted with bit the dust. Time was on my side; however, as I was able to write from home, teach classes and workshops, and freelance, and still be Mrs. Multitasker as my daughter grew and my husband traveled following his career.

Things were going quite well for a number of years, but I never really felt like I was living my dream. Anybody out there feeling worn-out from all of the multitasking we are required to do? So about four years ago, as new empty-nesters, we made some changes: I wanted to focus on chasing my writing (what the heck, maybe I could make a go of it without freelancing), and we decided to scale down our lifestyle to live greener. We sold our historical 3600 plus square-foot energy guzzler for a trim, efficient, 1100 plus square-foot ranch. Now, I am in heaven: I have more time to read, write, and reward myself with garden time.

Since our location change, I have many works-in-progress: a trilogy near completion, an outline and multi chapters written for a contemporary romance, a few finished flash fiction pieces searching for a home, plus dozens of miscellaneous pieces including nonfiction, poems, and short stories.

Then there are the children’s pieces: a Science series with a likeable character who pokes and prods through the world using a microscope and a magnifying glass; a middle grade mystery series set in the south (where else? LOL) with four main characters and three traveling families; another series will end up as a first chapter book reader for five to eight year olds; numerous picture books and a couple of bi-lingual ones thrown in to challenge me even more.

In addition, I’m updating and reworking all of the self-help curriculum, teaching materials, and children’s work that I was contracted to write over the last twenty years, forward thinking enough to have held on to all the rights for future publication.

Speaking of forward thinking, in my opinion, the greatest invention for a writer is feedback, from a critique group. Which is why I belong to five critique groups. Two of those I am fortunate enough to lead: the Luncheon Literary Society meeting monthly on a Saturday over lunch (go figure!) and a newly formed SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) chapter. Toss in a poetry group; add a very seasoned, published writer’s group; and a general critique group. We have the best group of writers, diverse in age/genre: they offer generous compliments, suggestions, and respect.

While writing is a huge part of my life, so is paying it forward. I’ve volunteered in some traditional and nontraditional roles over the years. Most recently, I’ve tutored adults in math as they pursued their GED (high school equivalency degree), written programs for a women’s advocacy group, and edited young adults’ book reviews for the non-profit

Last year, I began my blog. This enables me to keep an eye on the market, watching opportunities for newbies, which describes me, too. I try to find places where writers, poets, illustrators, songwriters, and other artistic peeps may submit work without an entry or reading fee. My hope is that someone stumbles across a venue that they never heard of before, or discovers a genre to stretch his/her creative energies. I missed interviewing people, so I began a spotlight section, delving deep into someone’s soul with thought-provoking questions…ha ha ha… I ask three questions, offering a platform to focus on other’s links, releases, works-in-progress, and etcetera.

I also jumped into the Twittersphere and Facebook Community. There’s a whole network of writers out there just as wackadoo as I am,  when we get together, watch out world! Seriously, it’s a great way to connect with others, share thoughts and tips about the business of writing, or lament about the isolation a writer experiences.

When I’m not writing? Or reading? I’m crafting something, I love making and remaking jewelry. As a preteen someone gave me a silver and turquoise necklace kit and I became hooked. I inherited both grandmothers ‘unusual’ pieces, and picked up a few others from antique shops over the years; let me say, they look fabulously different now. Oh, and I love shoes! Since my husband’s hobby is woodworking, he created a custom shoe and boot rack for me, and I designed my perfect jewelry armoire which he crafted into a beautiful heirloom piece. I am truly feeling spoiled!

Occasionally I pick up a crochet hook, thread my sewing machine, or unpack my acrylics and sketch pad. More often I wander around my garden snapping pictures, harvesting herbs and veggies, amazed that these plants rose up with so little attention. However, my favorite pastime is traveling. Whether I head north to visit my daughter and son-in-law, or drive with hubs destination unknown, or even take a mini-vacation to refresh my mind, I like to travel by car. With a paper map, the best way ever!

Thanks Mar, for an opportunity to be on your site. I’m so glad to connect with your readers here. I’d love for you to join me on Twitter, follow my blog and share your thoughts about your journey, too.


Posted in Guest writers

9 Simple Solutions for Procrastinators – by Christine Kane

I just had to share this post by Christine Kane with you all. A source of inspiration and encouragement in my daily life!

Christine Kane

Irony: As I started to write this article, I thought, “I’ll just go play one Sudoku game first.” I caught myself in the act and marched to my laptop.

People who say that procrastination is about laziness are probably the same people who think that anorexia is about not eating enough.

Procrastination isn’t about laziness. It’s about fear. It’s about perfectionism. It’s about overwhelm. We all experience it, and there are some tricks to help you get moving again.

Here are 9 ways to break the procrastination habit:

1 – When you get an idea, do some little thing to begin.

When I read Stephen King’s book On Writing, I noticed something. I noticed that when Stephen King gets an idea, he writes it. Immediately and imperfectly.

Most people get an idea. Then they sit there. They wonder if it’s a good idea. Then, they wonder if it’s a good idea some more.

Got an idea? Begin it now!

2 – All hail small chunks of time!

Lots of us complain about having no time. My guess is that we all have lots of time. It just doesn’t happen to be all at once.

Are you waiting for many hours of spare time to begin your idea, your project, or your taxes? Stop waiting! Learn to use the spare half hour that comes up here and there. (I gave myself 45 minutes to write this article just to take my own advice.)

3 – Agree to do it badly.

Set a goal to do it badly. Set a goal to show up. Let go of doing it ALL, or doing it WELL.

Some of my coaching clients’ biggest victories have a lot more to do with getting over perfectionism and fear, than they do about getting it all done perfectly.

4 – Commit aloud.

Call a friend and say something like this: “I’m going to spend the next hour working on creating my new product.” Then go do it.

Call the friend after the half hour and make her congratulate you. Repeat daily.

5 – Define quantities.

Nebulous goals make for nebulous results. “I’m gonna get my office organized” is a lot like saying, “We oughtta do something about Global Warming.”

Most procrastinators have a hard time defining quantities. We think everything needs to be done NOW.

When are you going to do it? For how long? Which part of your office? The file cabinet? Or your desk?

Define the goal and acknowledge its completion.

6 – Install this System Upgrade into your Mental Hard Drive: Less is More.

Have fewer goals. Have no more than three priorities for a week.


Because you’re not lazy. You’re just trying to do too much.

Find out what it feels like to accomplish one thing instead of not quite getting to everything. Wow – what a difference this makes!

7 – Do it first.

My first coach made me write songs first thing in the morning. He told me to schedule the 2-hour chunk as my first activity upon waking.


“Because you’re telling the universe that this is your priority. And then the universe lines up everything to align with your priority.

Action grounds your priorities. It makes them real. It also makes your day easier because you’re not wasting energy thinking about this thing you’re supposed to be doing.

8 – Avoid nose-bleed activities.

Email, voicemail, web stats – any activity that bleeds itself into your whole day becomes a non-activity. It becomes a nose-bleed.

When you do it all the time, you never complete it. You just let it slowly drain the very life force from you. Define times for these activities. Then, turn off your email, your cell phone, your web stats, until that time comes.

9 – Don’t ask how you “feel” about doing the activity.

Have you ever committed to getting fit? And then when the alarm goes off, you lie in bed thinking, “Do I really feel like going to the gym?” (Like you even have to ask!)

Change this pattern. Make your decision the night before. Commit to getting up and going right to the gym, the computer, the blank canvas. Don’t have coffee and sigh and think, “I’ll probably feel more like it at lunch time.” You won’t!

If it’s a priority, don’t waste time asking yourself how you feel about doing it. Feelings are an easy out.


There. I did it. I wrote this article. And now, I don’t even want to play Sudoku! How about that?

Christine Kane is the Mentor to Women Who are Changing the World. She helps women uplevel their lives, their businesses and their success. Her weekly LiveCreative eZine goes out to over 12,000 subscribers. If you are ready to take your life and your world to the next level, you can sign up for a F.R.E.E. subscription at


See Christine’s blog at