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Romantic Thoughts Thursday: Never Apart

“I don’t care how hard being together is; nothing is worse than being apart.”

– Josephine Angelini

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Sending Love and Light to all of you.

©Atina Atwood 2018 Exploring Love and Life, One Word At A Time

– Atina Atwood is a southern girl who moved from Europe to the West Coast. A former university professor in Germany and California, Atina stepped away from Academia to focus on her miracle child, life, love, food, quilting, and of course, Romance. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest for more.

Having A Bad Day? 5 Ways to Improve Your Mood

So you’re having a bad day. Man, that sucks. Sorry to hear that. If you don’t have someone to pep you up right when you need it most, well, like everything else, the burden is on you. Here are ways to improve your mood when you’re having a bad day.

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1. Throw Yourself a Pity Party for One.

Why not? You deserve it (I guess). Find a soft place to land, shake your fist at the universe, drop a few ugly tears, punch a pillow, use the choice words of your choice, and then…

2. Indulge.

After you’ve lamented and allowed yourself to feel as low as you’re willing to go, now’s the time to reconnect with your inner child and ask him or her what is needed to make the boo-boo better. Do you need chocolate? Binge-watching your favorite show? Retail therapy (window-shopping style)? A quick trip to your favorite restaurant?

Do something that you know will bring those happy endorphins back to the surface. Let it be in moderation, and let it serve as a reminder to you that you can still be happy, even in this bad day moment.

3. Remember: A Day Lasts Only 24-Hours.

No more, no less. Even when you just want to roll over in a corner and wait for this day to end, just remember that no matter what you do, the day will end. Eventually, the clock will strike 12 and a new day will begin.

Will the fact that a new day has begun eradicate the pain and damage that the bad day had wrought? Of course not. Don’t be silly. But the truth remains – the only way to heal or recover from any setback, no matter how large or small, is to take things one day at a time.

4. Reach Out.

This may sound a bit counterintuitive, but hear me out. When you feel like total crap, of course somewhere in the recesses of your mind, you’ll likely hear a voice reminding you that others have it worse.

Meh. In the age of the almighty Selfie, that voice may be very weak.

Instead, just go ahead think about yourself. (Yes, I said that.) You know you want to do that anyway, so just go ahead and do it. Think about how good YOU will feel when you do something positive or helpful for someone else. It’s up to you to decide how to do it. Sure, the easiest ways often involve money, but not as much as you may think.

Remember the “Pay It Forward” concept? In one example, one guy paid for the burger combo for the guy behind him, and then that guy paid for the woman behind him and so on until there was a chain of folks just eating burgers and making others happy. (Alright, a huge part of me wants to know who the person was who stopped the chain and said, “A free meal? Cool, thanks.” And moved on. Which was also totally okay.)

Anyway, you know what I mean. While you’re indulging on your treat of choice (see #2), maybe see if you can share it with someone else. It’s a scientific fact that making others feel positive makes your thoughts more positive as well.

5. MOVE FORWARD.

This part is always the hardest part. It’s so easy to get caught up in self-pity (#1), and kind hover between steps 1 and 2. But you don’t want to remain in an insect pattern, because you may never get out of it.

Start looking for a way to improve your disposition, situation, outlook on things, etc. You don’t have to do this alone. Even if you haven’t got someone near who can’t get past thinking about themselves, there are resources that anyone can use for free in the US. With a quick Google search, I found these two resources:

https://www.7cups.com

https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

One Bad Day Does Not Define You

We all have bad days. I know that I had one yesterday. My husband and parents were super supportive and made sure to call me and talk to me throughout the day to reassure me that I’m not alone, I’m loved, and supported. Of course, that helps me move forward at a much faster pace than having to go at it completely alone. But in the end, moving forward and making sure that the one bad day is just an isolated event is what should define you, not the setback itself.

Wishing you the best of days, and even better ones to come!

Sending Love and Light to all of you.

©Atina Atwood 2018 Exploring Love and Life, One Word At A Time.™

– Atina Atwood is a southern girl who moved from Europe to the West Coast. A former university professor in Germany and California, Atina stepped away from Academia to focus on her miracle child, life, love, food, quilting, and of course, writing. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest for more.

 

How to Listen (Part 1)

Advice Is Easy To Give, Hard to Follow

How often do we take it upon ourselves to go around and dish out advice that no one asked for? Don’t deny it – you know you’re just as guilty of this as I am. Even if you consider yourself to be the Switzerland of any group where conflicts or debates are involved these days, just think about when you’re at home binging on Netflix and you’re telling a character not to open the front door of the ax murderer’s house.

In one way or another, we all genuinely believe that we know more than others when it comes to certain things (or everything, depending on who you are). There’s nothing wrong with wanting to help others by sharing your astute perspective. Most of the time. Sure, it’s super easy to walk up to someone and say, “I see what you’re doing wrong there. Try this.” You’re not caught up in the situation; you have enough distance to gain perspective and be pragmatic about what you observe.

When your heart and soul are seemingly hanging in the balance, though, it’s a different story. The hard part comes when you’re put to task to follow your own advice. The “OMG just stop whining and quit already” doesn’t quite sound so brilliant when you’re talking to yourself in the mirror as opposed to when you recently said the same thing to a friend who confided in you with their dilemma for the umpteenth time.

Sometimes, Silence is The Best Advice

Don’t think that I’m not cognizant of the irony of this post. I’m giving advice on when not to give advice. Still, it’s a worthwhile opinion to share – and not just because it’s mine.

Recently, a friend who’s really going through some heavy things confided in me. Sure, I could have thrown in my wonderful tidbits of advice, but that wasn’t what my friend needed. They simply needed to be heard. Listening to someone and really hearing what is being said beyond the words spoken takes great skill. I’m not bragging about this; I’ve been cultivating this skill for decades, and I still have a long way to go.

The art of listening and hearing (two different skills btw) includes being able to distinguish when to speak and when to STFU.

This is one skill that I find to be incredibly helpful in both my personal and professional life. You can hear so much more in the silent spaces. If you’re also a musician, you know exactly what I mean.

Try being quiet once in a while – even in your own head. It’s amazing how quickly clarity will find its way to you.

Sending Love and Light to all of you.

©Atina Atwood 2018 Exploring Love and Life, One Word At A Time.™

– Atina Atwood is a southern girl who moved from Europe to the West Coast. A former university professor in Germany and California, Atina stepped away from Academia to focus on her miracle child, life, love, food, quilting, and of course, writing. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest for more.

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Romantic Thoughts on Thursday: Love Roars Louder Than Your Demons

“His love roared louder than her demons.”

– Unknown

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Sending Love and Light to all of you.

©Atina Atwood 2018 Exploring Love and Life, One Word At A Time

– Atina Atwood is a southern girl who moved from Europe to the West Coast. A former university professor in Germany and California, Atina stepped away from Academia to focus on her miracle child, life, love, food, quilting, and of course, Romance. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest for more.

When Characters Become Dictators

Sometimes Characters Tell You Who They Are. Sometimes They Don’t.

UGH.

Okay, now that I’ve gotten that off of my chest, maybe I can go ahead and finish this manuscript that should have been finished 2 months ago.

When you write, it’s amazing to see how many different approaches and techniques that you’ll inevitably use. Each project is like a new experiment, what worked once is never guaranteed to work a second time. Well, except for the sit down and write part.

My latest work, a sweet, YA novella that is slated for release in late October, is the one that is giving me grief. Already at 16,500 words, this novella is screaming for more character depth and development. The heroine and hero want to be super fleshed-out, not just two little gamey tropes, and here’s the gut-puncher of it all – they BOTH want their stories told in the first person narrative.

Which, for whatever reason, totally isn’t my thing. Normally, my developed stories play out in my mind in an arc, and I get to report to everyone else as I observe the action as it takes place in the sweet-spot of third person omniscient.

Not this time.

Stories WANT to be Written

My husband keeps chuckling because I’m complaining about how the story wants to be written in the 1st person. It may sound strange when I say things like that, but it’s totally true. Eventually, stories have lives of their own. It’s a beautiful thing, and a frustrating thing at the same time. I can fully understand how some people call their works “book babies”, because there are a few similarities involved. In any case, this novella is currently throwing a tantrum, and at 3:00 this morning, I finally heard my hero whine “Hey, what about my side of things?” (Insert eye-roll here.)

Since he’s 100% right, damn him, I’ve got to go back and slap his perspective on everything in subsequent chapters. Had this story wanted to be written in 3PO, I would have been finished months ago. Now, I’m off schedule by about 3-4 weeks, and you know, no pressure there.

Teenagers. *Sigh* Here’s hoping for the best, and that I do these kids justice.

Sending Love and Light to you all.

©Atina Atwood 2018 Exploring Love and Life, One Word At A Time.™

– Atina Atwood is a southern girl who moved from Europe to the West Coast. A former university professor in Germany and California, Atina stepped away from Academia to focus on her miracle child, life, love, food, quilting, and of course, writing. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest for more.

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It’s Quiltin’ Time!: My Mug Rug

Gummy bears and red wine (Montepulciano) are a strange combination for any self-respecting foodie, but they were the first things that I decided to enjoy on my very first scrappy reversible Mug Mat!

Honestly, I prefer calling it a Mug Rug, but either way, its purpose remains the same. I made it out of the literal scraps that I had remaining from my latest quilt. It was a fun little project, and I was finished in under an hour from start to finish, thanks to a quite a few World Cup distractions…

I’m pleased with the result, especially because I created something useful out of something many others might have thrown away. What a wonderful feeling!

Sending Love and Light to you all.

©Atina Atwood 2018 Exploring Love and Life, One Word At A Time

– Atina Atwood is a southern girl who moved from Europe to the West Coast. A former university professor in Germany and California, Atina stepped away from Academia to focus on her miracle child, life, love, food, quilting, and of course, Romance. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest for more.

The BLURB

Blurb: Selling Your Dream in 150 Words or Less

Now, don’t get confused. I did write the Blurb and not the Blob. I’m talking about Blurbs here, although in some ways, blurbs are equally as terrifying as any classic horror film.

It’s a funny thing, being a writer. We spend so much of our waking hours spinning words and creating worlds, delving into the complex lives of characters who live in our minds, yet have to be reborn and developed on paper.

We finally conjure up a written work that has 20,000 words or more – it’s a miracle! – and then, we have to condense it all into 150 words or less. The dreaded BLURB.

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Pout Pout Fish

People tend to forget that some of the most convincing artists, writers, and performers are often deliciously socially-awkward introverts who would rather be in some quiet, cocooned place somewhere, and yet they have this inner Drang to share their innermost with others through a specific medium.

Blurbs Are Silly, Very Important Little Things.

I’m not necessarily talking about us writers and folks in the creative/performing arts. (Nyep, I probably am.) But I’m actually thinking about the huge hurdle of writing a blurb. Why did I go through all of the trouble of telling you an elaborate story if you only want to hear about it in 6 complex sentences, or 10 if I keep things simple???

Anyway, as you may have guessed by now, I’m at the blurb phase of one of my latest stories. It’s the first in a fun, light, sweet YA romance series, and best of all, to my most faithful of followers, it will be FREE to those who sign up for my newsletter.

So, while I’m enjoying life in Blurblandia, let’s keep in touch on social media outlets like Twitter, Google+, Facebook, and Pinterest in the meantime.

Sending Love and Light to all of you.

©Atina Atwood 2018 Exploring Love and Life, One Word At A Time.™

– Atina Atwood is a southern girl who moved from Europe to the West Coast. A former university professor in Germany and California, Atina stepped away from Academia to focus on her miracle child, life, love, food, quilting, and of course, Romance. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and Pinterest for more.

 

Romantic Thoughts on Thursday

“You may not be her first, her last, or her only. She loved before; she may love again.

But if she loves you now, what else matters? She’s not perfect—you aren’t either, and the two of you may never be perfect together but if she can make you laugh, cause you to think twice, and admit to being human and making mistakes, hold onto her and give her the most you can.

She may not be thinking about you every second of the day, but she will give you a part of her that she knows you can break—her heart.

So don’t hurt her, don’t change her, don’t analyze and don’t expect more than she can give. Smile when she makes you happy, let her know when she makes you mad, and miss her when she’s not there.”

– Bob Marley

 

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Sending Love and Light to all of you.

©Atina Atwood 2018 Exploring Love and Life, One Word At A Time

– Atina Atwood is a southern girl who moved from Europe to the West Coast. A former university professor in Germany and California, Atina stepped away from Academia to focus on her miracle child, life, love, food, quilting, and of course, Romance. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest for more.

Book Review: HOME by Jezz de Silva

My Quick Book Review of Home by Jezz de Silva

Length: 324 pages (Kindle Edition)
Date of Publication: June 28, 2018
Personal Rating: 4.7 out of 5 stars
Quick Points: Fantastic read, fleshed-out romance tropes, extremely well-developed characters, slow-burn, interracial, May/December, friends to lovers, happily ever after

Inappropriate, Yet Pretty Much Accurate Synopsis: Exotic eye-candy elite solider fulfills his dying BFF’s wish by eventually banging his wife.

(Come on. We all know what “take care of her” means in romance-speak.)

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Home

My Actual, Proper Book Review: 

Home. It’s the place where we always long to be, a private sanctuary where we can truly be ourselves. At its most ideal, home the place where you can be your most vulnerable, yet it’s also the source of your greatest strength and sense of security. Home is the place where your dreams are nourished, and your understanding of true love, protection, and loyalty thrives.

My first impression of the stand-alone novel Home was a positive one. If you’re into slow-burn, friends to lovers, military, interracial, pseudo May/December romance, then you’re bound to be satisfied with what this novel has to offer you. De Silva slaps a perfectly dosed amount of all of the above, with an extra feel good trope or two for good measure. Set in West Australia, the author’s talent of descriptive writing shines through the narrative with visuals that make any reader feel as though she or he is Down Under in the middle of the action like a fly on the wall.

Evelyn (Eve) and Mark Watson have been married for nearly 20 years, and their love is the strongest imaginable. Mark, a Special Forces Staff Sergeant, and his right hand man, Corporal Jamie Turner, are the best of the best in the elite unit. When the two explicitly disobey an order so that they may save numerous innocent lives, tragedy befalls the duo. Before Mark succumbs to his fatal injuries, he makes his young best friend promise to protect Eve, the love of his life.

Jamie, a 28 year old Maori who towers over most people, has the strength of a legendary warrior, the discipline and fine-tuning of the elite soldier that he is, the finesse and charm of any  modern day Casanova, and the heart of a well-loved teddy bear. He makes good on his promise, and is literally welcomed with open arms by both Mark’s grieving widow and his feisty sister, Maggie (who is also Eve’s best friend). Jamie is always respectful, kind, and honest, and he lends his exceptional talents to restore the run-down Watson family home. Eve is a tough, direct, and brave 39 year old trauma nurse who struggles to move forward and stabilize her family’s future. The platonic friendship between the trio is strong and never waivers throughout the story.

As time progresses, the friendship between Jaime and Eve blossoms into romance. From there, the two consummate their transition from friends to lovers. Eventually, the protagonists are able to identify exactly what Home means to them.

Although I’m not a shrinking violet when it comes to profanity, there were times where I felt that its use didn’t necessarily progress the story. Of course, war is hell, and when the effects of it rip into the characters’ lives, I suppose that an F-bomb or ten are justified. Also, my expectations of a May/December romance went far beyond a circa 11-year age difference between Eve and Jaime. To me, that’s more like a May/August thing. No real biggie. (These days, a May/December is more like the current President of France, Emmanuel Macron and his wife, Brigitte Trogneux, who is 24 years his senior.)

When Jamie and Eve do finally make love, the intimate scene is disproportionately short in comparison to the time it takes for them to get to that pivotal moment. More time could have been given to the scene that most readers anticipate throughout the majority of the novel. (In fairness, because the characters hadn’t gotten any in such a long time, this could have been the author’s way of keeping things real. Just sayin’.)
If de Silva had chosen to, the entire sex scene(s) could have been left out of the novel, and it still would have been a perfectly solid read. However, the build up leaves the reader wanting the two characters to achieve fulfillment and unity on all levels, and although this occurs, the physical scenes did feel a bit rushed in comparison to the rest of the beautifully descriptive passages. 

Despite this, the dosage of romance is top-notch throughout the entire novel. If you’re looking for a romantic novel that exposes you to both the raw pain and exhilaration of love, then you’ll not feel cheated in the least.      

All in all, this slow-burn moved at a perfect pace. I found myself taking my time with this story, savoring each passage that continuously built layer after layer of character dimension and depth. De Silva is a storyteller, and he breathed true life into the characters Jaime and Eve. The character development is so incredibly thorough; there were many moments throughout the novel where there were tears in my eyes, simply because I could relate to the characters’ emotional battles in such a meaningful way. Their vulnerability, the rawness of their need to love, be accepted, and be loved, will clutch the heartstrings of any compassionate reader. Home is definitely a worthwhile read. Get a copy, and check out the talented author at jezzdesilva.com. I’ll BOL for more of his works!

Sending Love and Light to all of you.

©Atina Atwood 2018 Exploring Love and Life, One Word At A Time.™

– Atina Atwood is a southern girl who moved from Europe to the West Coast. A former university professor in Germany and California, Atina stepped away from Academia to focus on her miracle child, life, love, food, quilting, and of course, Romance. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest for more.

Romantic Thoughts Thursday: Embrace One Another

“We are each of us angels with only one wing, and we can only fly by embracing one another.”

– Luciano de Crescenzo

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Sending Love and Light to all of you.

©Atina Atwood 2018 Exploring Love and Life, One Word At A Time.™

– Atina Atwood is a southern girl who moved from Europe to the West Coast. A former university professor in Germany and California, Atina stepped away from Academia to focus on her miracle child, life, love, food, quilting, and of course, Romance. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest for more.

Sending Love to Those Involved in the #ThaiCaveRescue

Exercise Compassion Every Day

While I love to concentrate on all things love and romance on this blog, the most important aspect of all is LIFE. Here, I love to Explore Life and Love, One Word at a Time. At the beginning and end of every day, I express my gratitude for life, love, family, and all those good and wonderful things in between.

When we focus only on the things we like and enjoy, or merely on topics and points of view that comfortably fit inside our comfort zones, we grow more hedonistic and become less empathetic. It’s far too easy to miss important things that are happening around the world that have so much meaning to human existence. One perfect example of this is the still developing story of the #ThaiCaveRescue where on June 23rd, 12 boys and their coach who were trapped deep in a craggy cave after monsoon flooding blocked their escape. Rescuers were only first able to discover where they were ten days later. The first miracle is that fact that they are all still alive!  

Thai Cave Rescue

I’ve mentioned that I’ve been closely following the #ThaiCaveRescue on Twitter, but I hadn’t devoted a post to this phenomenal ordeal and test of strength, endurance, and faith. I’ve been actively keeping these boys, their amazing assistant coach, the brave selfless rescuers, and all of their families in my prayers, and I have been thinking of them constantly. I’m a firm believer that the power of prayer and positive thinking, regardless of your belief system (or lack thereof), can make amazing things happen. Call me crunchy, but I’m an unashamed PhD who’s totally into faith, family, love, life, romance, and spreading positive vibes around the world. Oh yeah, and science, lol. :-*

Thailand Cave Search

At the time of this post, all 13 people have been rescued and are safe in a local hospital! Rescue efforts were beyond taxing and grueling, and one Thai Navy SEAL has lost his life in the extremely dangerous rescue attempt. The boys and their coach were 2.5 miles deep inside the cave.

It is my prayer that all of the boys, their coach, and all other rescuers will be safely reunited with their families as soon as possible. I’m so excited to see what wonderful stories will develop for each of these kids.

If you haven’t had a chance to learn more about this, please take the time to do so. This is an example of a modern miracle with the amazing feats of the rescuers. May they all be recognized and showered with accolades for doing what so many heroes and heroines from around the world humbly describe as merely doing their job. Thank you.

I don’t know about you, but following this very human story has certainly made me reflect on what things are TRULY important to me in this life!

“We are each of us angels with only one wing, and we can only fly by embracing one another.” – Luciano de Crescenzo

Sending Love and Light to all of you.

©Atina Atwood 2018 Exploring Love and Life, One Word At A Time

– Atina Atwood is a southern girl who moved from Europe to the West Coast. A former university professor in Germany and California, Atina stepped away from Academia to focus on her miracle child, life, love, food, quilting, and of course, Romance. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest for more.

Happy Birthday, America!

Independence Day, USA

Happy Independence Day, or as most of us tend to say these days, Happy 4th of July! I’m probably the most self-censoring writer you’ve come across on a blog, but honestly, I just have zero desire to politicize most of my posts. And because it’s my God-given right to decide not to, I usually don’t. (See what I did there? 😉 )

The 4th of July means a lot of things to us who were born and raised in the good old USA. We’ve grown up celebrating our country, those who serve it, and those who have and continue to defend it since before we could walk. San Diego is very similar to my hometown in the South, and so far, I believe that it’s a lovely place to raise my little one where traditional family values are still considered to be the important glue that holds our communities together. America’s Independence Day is a special day to celebrate not only our military and their (our) families; it’s also important for us to remember our civil servants, too.

Happy-Birthday-America

Happy Birthday, America!

On the Fourth of July, we celebrate all of the things that each person associates with being American. We express our gratitude to those who have fought – and continue to fight – for our rights (and often, our wrongs). We express our pride in being unapologetically American. We celebrate the rights that we were born with, inherited privileges that, in all actuality, could still be eroded by the sweep of a pen and a blink of an eye. We are the renegades, the innovators, still rebellious, ever striving to define the indescribable miracleillusion feeling of being free.

But, we’re not the only ones who celebrate this amazing holiday. As you’re likely now aware of my fledgling obsession with fabric, hopefully you can understand what I mean when I say that the very fabric of our society is multifaceted and diverse. No one fits in just one simple pattern. What really impresses me is the fact that there are millions of people in the US who are not (yet) American citizens, but are permanent residents who celebrate this holiday with such reverence and enthusiasm as any proud military family, proud pacifist, proud Republican, proud Democrat, proud Independent does. There are beautiful, wonderful people who have given our country so much, and have earned the privilege of becoming American citizens themselves. They, too, are what makes up our idyllic view of America.

This is one holiday where anyone and everyone is encouraged to celebrate the love of OUR country, embrace OUR shortcomings with humility, and above all, celebrate OUR communities – the backbone of this nation. This year, maybe for just one day, everyone can set aside petty meme-wars, heavy political bias, or snarky hashtags, and just chill with the neighbor down the street. Maybe even give out a free hug or two.

Will I take my own advice? Here’s hoping.

Sending Love and Light to all of you.

©Atina Atwood 2018 Exploring Love and Life, One Word At A Time

– Atina Atwood is a southern girl who moved from Europe to the West Coast. A former university professor in Germany and California, Atina stepped away from Academia to focus on her miracle child, life, love, food, quilting, and of course, Romance. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest for more.

Are You Ready?

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(Also, get ready for my newsletter. Actually, get ready for both. If you already have one, then just get ready for the other.)

Sending Love and Light to all of you.

©Atina Atwood 2018 Exploring Love and Life, One Word At A Time

– Atina Atwood is a southern girl who moved from Europe to the West Coast. A former university professor in Germany and California, Atina stepped away from Academia to focus on her miracle child, life, love, food, quilting, and of course, Romance. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest for more.

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