Oops, I messed up.

Another update!

School

For the most part, last week was good as far as my Dental Assistant training. I learned a lot, had fun with my classmates and got a “B” on my exam. I’m pretty sure better management of my time could’ve resulted in me getting an “A”, though.

Taking care of my kid

I spent some time with my kids and grandkids – yay. 32077612_1827081867593866_4997355497284698112_nBut my youngest… well, I’m supposed to brush his orthodontia-covered teeth daily. There was no follow-through on his end or mine, and I was just too tired to step up and take measures to make sure it got done. In this area, I failed completely this week.

Other Responsibilities

I was also supposed to go to jury duty. One of the staff members at ACI prepared a letter for me to forward to the court explaining that missing even one day of class, would put me very far behind, yadda yadda. I never actually got that letter to the court. I was going to mail it, but since time was short, I wanted to take it in person, but since I’m in class during the time the court is open, that didn’t work out either and now the letter is still on my kitchen counter. Fail.31955488_1826782244290495_2988125583822553088_n

There are a number of tasks I was supposed to do, which I didn’t, including working on my story. However, I didn’t neglect my family, my health (too much) or fall asleep at the wheel (since I’m lacking sleep). So this leaves me with a positive enough attitude to strive for improvement next week.

#dentalassistantlife #Amstudying
#PassTheClass_WriteTheBook_KeepTheKidAlive #authorlife #amwriting

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1st Update: The Class. The Book. The Kid.

The Class

My first couple of weeks at ACI were really good.
I’ve met some great people,

learned a shit-load of awesome information

31398042_1823028867999166_5417500051561775104_nand even received an “A” on my first exam. I love the hands-on learning, which so far, has included

  • How to take a patient’s vitals
  • How to put a matrix band on a tofflemire
  • How to identify dozens of dental instruments (dozens more to learn)
  • How to mix dental materials
  • How to make a temporary crown

The Kid

As for keeping my kid alive, this is my blanket phrase for keeping on top of all things pertaining to 12-year-old boys – his hygiene, health, school work, social and emotional well being, chores, medical appointments, orthodontist appointments, clean laundry, food – lots of food – lots and lots of food. You get the idea.

I did okay for the most part. I got him to his appointments, cleaned and de-tangled his hair (yes, that’s a process and not much fun for either of us).

He has clean clothes for the week despite the fact our dryer is broken. I took him to his first piano lesson. And he tried a bite of pear for the first time. (Yes that’s a big thing for him.) I do owe him $10 now, however. But since he has an extremely limited diet, it’s so worth it. (seriously, he’s seen a nutritionist, gastroenterologist, occupational therapist, physical therapist, allergist, psychologist and we still don’t fully understand his eating issues. So I’ve stopped dragging him to all the specialists and just encourage (and bribe and pay) him to try new foods.

 

The Book

Unfortunately, I didn’t make much progress in my writing. I’m working on a short story which will be released this year as part of an anthology, and while we’re not sharing all the details just yet, I can tell you it involves a sweet-spirited Black-belt who crosses paths and (trades punches) with a very sexy soldier.
I do keep the story’s music playlist on repeat play, however, so hopefully it’ll help me get those words onto my pages.

31501335_1823871614581558_7744223714299871232_nAs for me, I managed to hug my kids, kiss my grand-kids, visit my mom, attend my writing group meeting and fit in a few half-mile walks. But the one area in which I’ve done terribly (and I know you’re all going to yell at me) is getting enough sleep. One night last week (on a school night, no less) I only slept for one hour. I will try to manage my time better this week, though.

I’ll keep you updated.

Listen to the playlist for my upcoming story, A Stranger’s Kiss.

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The Class. The Book. The Kid.

31297790_1822227741412612_7479682530916958208_nRecently I shared the news that I’ll be going to school at Advantage Career Institute for the next few weeks. For several years I was employed as a Dental Assistant and worked for the world’s greatest boss. The doctor and I have a few things in common, including both being military veterans, so we got along well and I loved working for her. I didn’t have a license to take dental x-rays, though, and when the doctor retired from the practice, the new owner terminated my employment.  She said she hadn’t realized I don’t have a license, so she was going to hire an assistant who does have one. I was a little disappointed, because really, who wants to lose their job. But mostly, I was relieved because working with this new doctor (AKA my step-boss) was the complete opposite of working with the boss I loved.

Since I would be eligible for unemployment benefits, I decided to get training for Dental Assisting, which would not only get me the license to take x-rays, but also provide me with even more knowledge than I’d received while working in the dental field. And let’s not forget the potential for increased $cha-ching! So I’m pretty excited.

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I am concerned about my writing, however. I’m working on a short story which needs to be completed by July – just about the same time my class will be over. I don’t know how I’ll be able to write a kick-ass story, ace this class and keep up with the demands of motherhood, in addition to a gazillion other responsibilities, of course.

Follow the journey with me as I attempt to balance studying, my writing career, parenting and all my other responsibilities. Oh and I’ve somehow got to manage to keep my sanity. Cheer me on as I attempt to pass the class, write the book and keep my kid alive!

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#PassTheClass_WriteTheBook_KeepTheKidAlive.

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How I Write When My Words Aren’t Flowing

Is it writers’ block?

Some authors suffer from writers’ block, some are naturally slow writers. Me… my words, thoughts and ideas just come to me whenever they damn well choose to. So unless I’m on a deadline, I don’t fight it.
Rarely am I able to sit with my laptop and just write with words abundantly flowing. I do work from an outline when I write, however, so I already know where my story is going and I have a better than general idea how it’s going to get there.

Writing on the go

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Most authors usually keep a notepad handy for thoughts and ideas for their stories. Instead of carrying blank pages, I jot down a few words about the the scenes I have planned in a given chapter. That page may have something like this:

Chapter 5:
–  Wedding
–  Traveling to honeymoon
–  Hospital

 

When a scene plays out in my mind (while I’m at the supermarket, for example, instead of at my laptop) I write it down under the appropriate scene heading – maybe the ex shows up at the wedding and causes drama. Who does he or she confront? What words are shouted? etc. Then en route to the honeymoon there’s discussion about the destination and a fear of flying. Perhaps some inner thought about how one character really doesn’t want to get on that plane.

The fact that I’ve only written down the scenes for the chapter I’m working on, helps keep my focus (and random character dialog) on events that should occur only in or near that chapter. Ordinarily, I think about my story and my characters throughout my day, but by writing one or two words for the scenes only in the chapter I’m working on, I’m giving myself permission to think only about that particular part of my story.

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How to Get Better-Tasting (and Healthier) Coffee

It just tastes better

28695759_1799442127024507_681475440_o.jpgWhenever I pack to go on vacation, whether it’s a week at a rental in Ocean City, NJ or a weekend getaway for quiet writing time, I pack my coffee machine. And I’m not talking one of those mini individual cup ones… I mean the full 12-cup Mr. Coffee. Why? Because I’m willing to bet my coffee machine that hotels do not regularly clean the coffee machines in each room. I’m also willing to bet that at least some of the guests which have occupied the room before me have used tap water in the machine.
In my experience, my coffee tastes much better after I clean my coffee machine.
Using bottled water – usually distilled – and a little vinegar, I set the machine to brew. Next, I brew a few cycles with just bottled water. I wipe the machine inside and out with clean paper towels and finally, I clean the carafe with hot water and soap.

Yuck!

Before writing this post, I did a search to see how my methods line up with any expert advice for cleaning my coffee machine. What I found was shocking. I thought that by cleaning my machine regularly I was just getting rid of any mineral deposits, old water and stale taste. I found that not only was I not cleaning my machine thoroughly enough (remember, I just add a little vinegar), but I hadn’t even considered mold and other yuck which might be growing in my machine. I’m glad I found this article on Huffington Post because this is the method I’ll be using going forward.

How to clean your coffee machine

  1. Fill the coffee maker’s water chamber with equal parts white vinegar and water. Using a paper filter, allow to brew until half the chamber is empty.
  2. Turn the coffee maker off and let it sit for 30 minutes, then finish brewing.
  3. Rinse the machine by using a new paper filter to brew a pot of clear water. Do this twice.
  4. Fill the carafe with warm, sudsy water and some rice as a gentle abrasive. Swirl the mixture in the pot, then use a scrubber sponge to remove any gunk. Rinse and dry.
  5. Wipe the outside of the machine with a damp cloth (but remember, this and the previous step should really happen every day).

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So go ahead, clean your coffee machine and enjoy a healthier and better tasting cup of coffee.

 

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Do Authors Have a Responsibility to Their Readers?

The life they’ve chosen

I sometimes feel sorry (just a little) for celebrities who have paparazzi in their faces when they go out to eat or go to the gym. Imagine if they were going to get a Brazilian wax or some other personal appointment. And forget about hooking up for a kinky rendezvous. The whole world is always in their business making it difficult to live normal lives. If a celebrity does something stupid (who of us has never done anything stupid?) like lick a donut in a bakery and then put it back for someone else to buy (okay maybe not to that extent. That’s not only stupid, it’s disgusting and shows a lack of concern for the health and well being of others.) But when they do slip up, the whole world knows about it and often it takes a long time for the world to get over it. But as I stated, I only feel a little sorry for them, because for the most part, this is the life they’ve chosen.

 

YouTubers have a responsibility

My son likes watching YouTube videos, and some of the youtubers, although entertaining, annoy me because they use extremely foul language. I know… freedom of speech and parenting your child, etc. But these video gaming entertainers know that a large part of their audience is young children. For that reason, they should be careful about what they do and say because millions of impressionable children watch and imitate them. I strongly believe that if this is what they choose to do, then they have a responsibility to keep their material appropriate for the youngsters.

 

What about authors?

Lately I’ve been thinking about the responsibility authors – especially published authors – have to readers. The readers support us by buying our books, and sometimes, if we’re lucky, they write reviews. Our readers are the motivation to create great stories.  When we advertise or promote an upcoming book via interview, social media, the back content of a current book or any other means, we have a responsibility to our readers to deliver what we said we would.

 

Cancelled

cancelledA few years ago, I read all four books in a popular series. Like many fans of the series, I was disappointed to learn that publication of the fifth book – a version of the first book told from a different point of view – had been cancelled. The author had decided not to finish it because someone had leaked part of the story. However, since so much time had passed between the occurrence of the leak and the time I discovered the series, I was hoping the author would just shake it off and finish the book. Especially since so many fans had asked, begged and pleaded for book five. I’d checked her website from time to time, looking for info, but there was nothing. Eventually I found a version of the story which I believe was “completed” and posted by a fan, so I stopped checking the author’s website and moved on.

 


When an author chooses to introduce their writing to the world and offers a story, a sequel, even just an excerpt, we should make every effort to deliver.


 

Responsibility to my readers

I say all that to say this: Over the last few days, I’ve been reminded of my responsibility to my readers. On three occasions within as many days, someone mentioned Off Base, the sequel to my Military Romance, Forbidden Kisses.

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The most recent was this comment on my site from sjlmorgan.
The comment both made my day and broke my heart a little. Here was this reader who enjoyed book one and was ready for book two after reading the sample of Off Base in the back of book one. Basically she was saying, “Why did you even include the sample chapter? Now I want to read it and it’s not available.” The sad thing is, I haven’t even been working on Off Base. I started it, but when I suddenly got an idea for a brand new story. I put Off Base on the back burner so I could work on Remember Love.

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sjlmorgan isn’t the only reader waiting for the continuation of Layla and Ethan’s story. I went through my reviews and noted that there are at least sixteen reviews in which the reader expressed a desire to read Off Base.

Can’t wait for the second installment; hoping for another winner!

Can’t wait for their sequel!

I’m looking forward to following this love story into their next phase of the authors “Off Base”.

I’m looking forward to reading the next book in this series. 

I’m interested in what happens next to Eathan and Layla in the follow up story Off Base.

I look forward to reading about the progression of their love story.

Waiting for the sequel to follow these two souls in their HEA.

I’m anxious for the sequel that was briefly mentioned. I fully expect wedding bells for them. I won’t accept anything less.  Love this couple to moon and back. Thank you.

I can’t wait to see how the author extends the story line.

I can’t wait to read your next book.

Anxiously awaiting the sequel.

I can’t wait for the next book.

Can’t wait for Off Base!

I look forward to reading Sha Renee’s next book.

 

Because of all these comments and the responsibility I have to my readers (and my love for Layla and Ethan’s story),  I’ve decided to postpone my work on Remember Love and get back to writing Off Base. Thank you, sjlmorgan for that reminder.

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A Sexy Man With A Killer Smile

Not Broken: The Happily Ever After
by Meka James

They say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger…

Calida Jokobi doesn’t see it that way. Surviving an abusive relationship with a sadistic, manipulative man changed her. She has spent the last two years carefully constructing her new persona with two goals in mind: to keep the remaining pieces of her heart safe and her deepest secrets buried. One man puts it all at risk.

Malcolm has been a part of Calida’s life for as long as she can remember. A friend. Her first teenage crush. Now he’s asking for something she swore she’d never give again: her heart.

Calida must decide if she should risk the fragile façade she’s created and give Malcolm the chance he’s asking for.

They say love can heal all wounds…

Malcolm Frankel wants to prove to Calida it’s true. She survived a hell most people couldn’t fathom. He’s been by her side fulfilling whatever role she needs him to play. All except the one he wants most. It took nearly losing her to make Malcolm realize he couldn’t keep denying his feelings.

He knows no one goes through an ordeal like that and comes out unscathed, but the closer they get, the more he learns just how deep Calida’s wounds go.

She’s the only woman he’s ever loved, and Malcolm is ready to put his own heart at risk for a chance at mending hers.

 



Meet the characters

A chat with Calida Jokobi

What was your first impression of Malcolm?
Oh man. I met Malcolm when I was in third grade, so I was eight or nine. Can’t remember what I thought about him at that time other than he was Macy’s big brother.

What qualities attracted you to him?
He’s a sexy man with a killer smile. It lights up his whole face. And he can make me laugh. I love that, and he always knows when I need it. But mostly it’s his heart. He cares so much and so deeply about everyone. And seeing him with my son… it melts my heart every time.

Is there anything memorable Malcolm’s ever done for you?
Love me. I know that probably sounds corny, or cliché but it’s the truth. When you’ve been through what I’ve gone through before, having someone love you. Truly, honestly love you, faults and all with no judgement, that’s pretty damn memorable.

 

A chat with Malcolm Frankel

What was your first impression of Calida?
I think I’m offended. I’m sure I made a better impression. *Calida shrugs* Well, I remember the quiet, shy red-head that said a whole lot of yes ma’am and no ma’am to Mom. She went on and on about how polite you were.

What do the two of you do for fun or quality time together?
Well, I have a certain activity I never get tired of doing with my lady love here. But for a more PG, family friendly answer, really just hanging out with her and *our* son. We game, she’s not that good, but tries. Or watch a movie. I’m a simple man, all I need is her and Shawn to make it a good time.

How do you see your future with Calida?
Married. Three or four more kids so that Shawn has plenty of siblings. My future is with Calida. However she’ll have me, for as long as she’ll have me.

 



Get your copy

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Meet the author, Meka James

I was raised in a large castle with a moat, a drawbridge and a personal chef. Every night before bed I would wish upon a star for a handsome prince to come and whisk me off my feet and we’d raise a family of our own. Flash forward twenty years and that fantasy turned into real life. Well ok. I wasn’t born in a castle and I didn’t have a personal chef, a girl can dream though can’t she? In truth, I’ve led a fairly simple life. I’m a stay at home Mom to 4 super amazing (and stunningly gorgeous because yes, I’m biased) kids. We live in the great state of Georgia though my dreams are to kick my eldest out of the house and out of the state (yay college). Kidding, I’m kidding, don’t worry Baby, Mama loves you! Although one part of my fairytale is true, I did marry a handsome prince and we’ve been happily married for 11 years and counting. I’m an animal lover and own 3 dogs, a turtle, a bearded dragon, and my husband and kids own snakes (and if they get loose, I’m leaving them all!) In my spare time (no really, I get that sometimes!) I volunteer with the Atlanta Weimaraner Rescue and I enjoy playing The Sims 3. As for my writing, it was something I happened to stumble upon one day and it was something I surprisingly came to love and enjoy.

Contact Meka

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Happy Reading!

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