What in the world has Megan been up to?
Well, once upon a time I thought I could publish a book a year and it would be just like clockwork.
Routine and regimented and regular.
Then I realized Real Life likes to mess with your head. Real Life has plans for you that you never ever dreamed would take place. Real Life can be a spurned ex that keeps popping up in your life. Real Life likes to throw monkey wrenches at you. If you can dodge a wrench… (name that movie)
Real Life can be a real b*tch.
In my case, Real Life thought it would be fun to take a vital part of my spine (my intervertebral disc) and squeeze it out of its cozy home in between my bones. And then Real Life said, “you know what else, we’re gonna make you think you’re healed, and you’re going to get excited to be back to normal, and then BAM! we’re gonna squeeze that disc out some MORE! muah ha ha ha ha.”
So that’s why I haven’t been up for much writing. It’s hard to sit or stand for long periods of time. The medication I take to help decrease the inflammation (basically prescription Aleve) makes me super tired, and I seem to have a crap ton of other deadlines to deal with right now. None of which, sadly, relate to me and my writing or editing.
So yeah. Instead of writing much, I’ve been reading. But what I’ve been reading has been stuff like, “how to heal a herniated disc” and “how long does a herniated disc take to heal” and “how not to murder my family while I deal with this darn disc pain.”
Like I said, nothing fun or exciting.
I do have several fun books coming up that I’m looking forward to reading, though.
To Be Read Books!
One is Moti on the Water, by Leylah Attar. Honestly, I can’t believe I haven’t read this yet. That just tells you how darn busy I truly have been.
I personally am expecting this book to become optioned for movie rights almost immediately (and I haven’t even cracked it open yet!). Really, this should be a warning to me not to say anything or make any predictions about a book I haven’t read, or had on good authority that it’s great. But I can’t help myself.
Look at the cover!
Look at this blurb:
A Greek family. An Indian family. A summer wedding on the Aegean coast…
Meet Moti Ferreira—spectacularly jinxed from the day she’s born.
Saddled with an eccentric mother, she stumbles upon the one man who holds the key to her freedom—the best man at her cousin’s upcoming wedding.
All Moti has to do is overcome her fear of water, board a yacht to the Greek Isles, seduce the dreamy Nikos Manolas, and survive two weeks at sea with her oddball family.
The only obstacle Moti doesn’t see coming is Alexandros Veronis, the onboard chef and star witness to her awkward mishaps. He transforms onions into chocolate and aroma into nostalgia. Day by day, his alchemy works its magic on Moti. But she’s not the only one falling under his spell. Everyone has a secret, growing round and ripe at Chef Alex’s table. When the masks fall off, they spill out one by one, and everything blows up in their faces.
Now Moti’s truth is exposed, and worse, she’s hooked on more than Alex’s midnight snacks. But this time, screwing up could be the best thing she’s ever done…
I can’t wait!
Have you read it yet? What did you think?
I’m also intrigued by this new romance called Well Met, by Jen DeLuca.
Emily knew there would be strings attached when she relocated to the small town of Willow Creek, Maryland, for the summer to help her sister recover from an accident, but who could anticipate getting roped into volunteering for the local Renaissance Faire alongside her teenaged niece? Or that the irritating and inscrutable schoolteacher in charge of the volunteers would be so annoying that she finds it impossible to stop thinking about him?
The faire is Simon’s family legacy and from the start he makes clear he doesn’t have time for Emily’s lighthearted approach to life, her oddball Shakespeare conspiracy theories, or her endless suggestions for new acts to shake things up. Yet on the faire grounds he becomes a different person, flirting freely with Emily when she’s in her revealing wench’s costume. But is this attraction real, or just part of the characters they’re portraying?
This summer was only ever supposed to be a pit stop on the way to somewhere else for Emily, but soon she can’t seem to shake the fantasy of establishing something more with Simon or a permanent home of her own in Willow Creek.
I love a book that has a great opening sentence. In fact, I’ve been know to put a book back on the shelf if I don’t like the first sentence.
Ouch, I know.
But this one, this is one of the better first lines I seen:
“I didn’t choose the wench life. The wench life chose me.”
Now see, that’s a sentence I can get behind. What a terrific way to open a story.
I’m sorta ticked at myself for not selecting this book with my August Book of the Month choices. I wanted to, I just have a huge list of other books to read. But now I wish I would have. That’s actually a nice thing about BOTM club; you can go back and add any book you’d like from past offerings.
What? You’re not a member? Really, you should check it out. It’s a super affordable way to buy hardback books. And you often get early access to books that aren’t released to the public yet. Here’s a link for all the details: https://www.mybotm.com/q83654e3rlf
Let’s pause for a moment here.
Do you have children? If so, did you survive the summer with them? If so, you need a reward. A treat. A school-supply list for mom, per se.
Seriously though, why not have a school-supply list for moms? Here’s what would be on mine:
- Vodka (oh c’mon, you KNEW that was coming)
- Electric foot massager (no, an actual foot massager tool. Not something sold as a ‘personal massager’ from Sharper Image. Nice try though, nice try).
- Cozy socks
- Brand new book to read
- A bag of mini, caramel rice cake chips
- The phone number of a good nanny, or, in the case of teens at home, a good driving instructor.
And after you have all of those ducks lined up, here are a few more must have items.
Products I Would Give Up Coffee For
Skin Trip body lotion, $13.99
Called “Hawaii in a bottle”, this body lotion is unlike anything else out there. Trust me, I think I’ve tried them all.
This lotion is part of my childhood. Seriously.
I grew up smelling this throughout the house and any time I was anywhere near my mom. She used it ALL the time. I loved the scent of it, although I equated it later to the 1970’s, hippie dresses, and strangest of all, doctor’s offices (um, whaaaat? I don’t know. Don’t ask).
Anyway, I was recently in a natural foods store and I found this lotion on the shelf. I recognized it immediately because the packaging hasn’t changed one bit since it was first introduced, way back in 1971!
I bought it immediately and promptly used the entire bottle. Every time I put it on my kids would comment about how good it smelled. My dog would try to lick the lotion off my legs, and my husband would get that look in his eye.
You know the one I’m talking about. 🙂
You can read all about it online, or you can just take my word for it. This is the best-smelling body lotion on the market. Its fast-absorbing, thin consistency soaks right into your driest skin, and the coconut smell is like you’ve just walked into a Hawaiian sunset.
I’d definitely give up coffee for this.
Sweary Pencils, $1.50 each
These pencils were made for me.
I absolutely adore them and want to fill an entire jar full of them and place it on my desk.
What I’d really love to do is mix a few up in my kids’ school supply zipper pack and then just wait for the phone call home.
OMG, did I just say that out loud?
In my defense, my kids are out of elementary school now.
And my personal favorite:
TENS unit, $36.95
Are you over age 25?
Do you have a pulse?
You need this little gadget.
So yeah, I’m old. And I know this because I bought this funky little device called a TENS unit. It’s basically a cell phone with wires coming out of it that you attach to a part of your body that is hurting (in my case, my low back). You attach the electrodes and then turn the thing on.
And that’s when the magic begins.
Basically you are sending electrical impulses into your body and those impulses cause your muscles to contract, and the contractions cause blood to flow and increase around your area of damage. This in itself helps the healing process, but it also helps decrease pain.
You can control the amount of time the device operates and you can control the intensity. Personally, when I’ve had enough pain and am almost ready to take medication for it, I put this TENS unit to work, and I swear, it really does work.
And it’s cheap.
If you have chronic pain, or just pain from strained muscles or injuries, give this thing a try. It’s definitely something I would grab if my house caught on fire.
Draper James Planner, $28.43
I’m so obsessed with Reese Witherspoon’s Draper James clothing store. I love everything about it: the colors (florals and stripes and chambray, yes please!), the patterns, the outfits, the Southerness of it all. Ugh, I could go on and on. I seriously need to visit that store.
So when I saw that they produced this gorgeous planner, I nearly screamed. Planners are my favorite. Magnolias are my favorite flower. Draper James is my favorite brand. It’s the trifecta of awesomeness!
But don’t think I just have one planner. Oh heavens no. I have a small, personal one, and a large, family, spiral one that is like a giant book, really. It hold my entire life. If you’re wondering what that one looks like, here it is:
I picked this bad boy up at Target for around $10.00. I love it. It’s flexible, not rigid. It has tabs for each month at a glance and pages that have each week in advance. It’s spiral bound so it lays flat, and I can stuff all my loose papers in there and they won’t stick out or fall out. Go get yo’self a planner and do epic sh*t!
For the Love of Music
Music can absolutely change your life. Here’s what’s making a difference in mine lately.
Cruel Summer – Taylor Swift
Vulture, Vulture – Of Monsters and Men
Blow – Ed Sheeran, Chris Stapleton (this should be on the soundtrack of the movie John Wick)
Outta My Head – Khalid (featuring John Mayer)
Podcasts I’m Loving
Better Than Happy, with Jody Moore
I heard about this podcast from my girl, Tara Thueson. I’ve talked about Tara here before. She’s amazingly funny and so entertaining to watch on IG stories. She recommends all the best products out there, she’s Mormon, she lives in the most gorgeous home you’ve ever seen in Utah, and isn’t shy to talk about s-e-x.
If you aren’t following her on Instagram, please do yourself a favor and check her out.
Ok, so Tara recommended this podcast and I thought I’d give it a try. This gal Jody is a life coach and let me tell you, she is one SMART cookie. I don’t know what it is about her podcast that I love so much…actually, I think it’s her voice. She’s very calming but also very direct. And she’s so organized in the way she outlines and delivers the knowledge she imparts with each show. She’s also Mormon and she does discuss her faith at times. But please do not let that scare you away. She’s one of the most intelligent people I’ve ever listened to.
And this episode about anxiety has changed my outlook on life. It stopped me in my tracks. Like, I literally stopped walking with my dog and opened my Notes app so I could write down something she said. Here’s part of it,
“It’s clear to me that, with all the modern conveniences we have at our fingertips these days, our intolerance for discomfort has dropped dramatically over the past couple of decades. With our inability to tolerate discomfort, how is that affecting how we perceive our mental health?”
If you suffer from anxiety, know someone that does, are a mentor, or a coach, or just a human on this planet, I beg you to listen to this episode. It’s such a shift from what we are told and taught about anxiety right now. And I personally think this new perspective — essentially that we need to retrain our brains to be okay with discomfort at times, and to really FEEL our feelings rather than trying to escape them — could be life changing.
Please give it a listen and let me know what you think. I’d love to talk about it with you.
And after you listen to something super serious, check out one of these nearly free romance novels!
Dark Stranger, The Dream (Paranormal Romance)
Normally this isn’t really my genre of choice, but these reviews can’t be ignored. Almost 3k reviews is a big deal. I don’t know, I’m adding this to my list. It’s .99, after all!
Wild Montana Sky, by Debra Holland (Historical Romance)
When her brother announces his marriage, Elizabeth Hamilton suddenly becomes unwanted and unwelcome in the only home she’s ever known. To escape the new mistress of the house, Elizabeth accepts the invitation of her best friend to journey to Montana.
The dirt streets and wooden storefronts of Sweetwater Springs and the hardships of ranch living are worlds away from the refinements of Gilded Age Boston, yet Elizabeth is filled with new hope—and buoyed by a wealthy banker’s attentions. Yet it’s cowboy Nick Sanders who slowly awakens her heart and helps her recognize her strengths. And when a deadly influenza epidemic strikes, Elizabeth will fight for those she loves—and the life she’s ready to claim.
Almost 1300 reviews for this historical beauty. If you haven’t given historical romance a try, maybe this is your book! It’s only .99 so there’s nothing to lose. And if you want a historical that I’ve read and can easily recommend, check out Wolfsgate, by Cat Porter. It was her first adult novel and it remains my favorite.
Alrighty then, I think this about wraps it up for me this month.
Stay tuned for next month when I talk about how my back surgery went, all the trashy novels I read while I recovered from surgery, and how much coherent writing I was able to accomplish while on pain medication (answer: probably none). It’s gonna be a wild ride in October, folks!
Cheers to you, and remember: may all your kisses be long ones!