Welcome back to the Wilder Retreat and Winery, located within the Hill Country of Texas.
Stay Here with Me is East’s and Lark’s story, and takes place shortly after Coming Home to Us (Elijah’s & Maddie’s story).
Lark is an award-winning singer-songwriter, and a good friend of Bethany (Everett’s fiancée).
She’s currently working on songs for her latest album…problem—she promised never to write about him…and he seems to be all she can think about.
She’s shared a night (or two) of passion with East previously, and they always seem to be like oil-and-water outside of the bedroom…
East still struggles with issues related to his time in the service…
Lark decides to head to Wilder Retreat & Winery to spend some time with Bethany, and to try to get some songs written…
She’s also asked to help with getting their new spa up and going….East is helping to oversee the construction…and Lark’s parents have their own spa…and Lark worked there as a teenager…
While they may not get along in public…they agreed to be ‘enemies-with-benefits’, as they can’t seem to keep their hands off each other…
East’s issues come to a head as a former teammate booked some time at the resort with his family, and another shows up ‘uninvited’…
How does he handle them?
How long does it take for him to realize that he’s fallen head over heels for Lark? How long for Lark to realize the same thing?
The answers lie within the pages of Stay Here with Me…along with a Wilder wedding, and the usual cheese, wine, and other Wilder shenanigans.
The ‘enemies-to-lovers’, ‘oil and water’, romances are some of my favorite—because they prove that there is someone out there for everyone—even a grumpy Wilder male. All it takes is a little risk, a lot of love, and a good amount of chocolate, wine, and cheese.
Stay Here with Me is now available everywhere, and is a great place to jump in to meet the Wilder family, and all their friends (and even a few ‘enemies’).
It’s a five out of five star read, and I’m eagerly awaiting Elliot’s story…though I don’t know if I can then actually pick a favorite Wilder brother or not.
Welcome back to the Montgomery Ink world and the children of the original Montgomery Ink families….
At First Meet is Lake and Nick’s story…
It takes place several months after the end of Bittersweet Promises (Lief & Brooke’s story)…
Lake Montgomery is still recovering from a previous bad relationship, when she gets an invite to the ‘Elite 40 Under 40’ retreat in New York…feels like she needs the ‘plus one’…
Nick, is a family friend and co-owner of Montgomery Ink Legacy tattoo parlor along with Leif, Lake, and Sebastian…and he offers to go along as her ‘plus one’…
They head out to New York, with the assumption that they’ll have connecting rooms—but separate beds….
Well, things don’t go as planned….they end up with a single room and bed…
So, what happens when they both admit to having feelings for the other??
They sure a night of passion before heading back to Colorado…claiming the night hasn’t changed their friendship…but things are ‘awkward’ for awhile—especially when it seems that Lake has a ‘secret’ admirer as well.
Can they make a go with a real (everyone knows) relationship?
What happens when Lake’s ex pops back into the picture?
Answers to those and more, plus cheese (of course) are in the pages of ‘At First Meet’…in addition—have some tissues handy…
I’m loving seeing how the next generation of Montgomerys have grown up; in addition to having a reason to go back and binge read all of the earlier Montgomery Ink series and spin-offs.
At First Meet is a five out of five star read, and highly recommended. Plus—if you’ve never read a previous book, it is a perfect place to jump in and meet some new friends…
Bethany was briefly introduced in ‘Always the One for Me’ as a guest at one of the weddings held at Wilder Resorts.
Everett has the feeling that he’s met Bethany before…but that ‘couldn’t have happened’…he’s just a Wilder and she’s a movie star.
Now, Bethany is back at the resort hiding out after her current relationship crashes and burns.
She confronts Everett—and they both get some startling news…
Him—they had met before and shared a wonderful weekend together…
Her—he suffered a traumatic brain injury overseas, that resulted in loss of memory of basically anything that occurred within a few months prior to his injury—including their time together.
Can they now make a run at being a couple…or will Bethany’s stalker get in the way…
The answers and more can be found within the pages of ‘The Path to You’.
I absolutely loved Everett’s and Bethany’s story, and can’t wait for the stories for the last three Wilder brothers—therefore, I’m going to have to wait until I’ve read all of them before I can chose my absolute favorite story.
If you like growly, slightly grumpy heroes and heroines that can also save the day—I suggest picking up a copy of The Path to You (or really any of Carrie Ann Ryan’s books).
The Path to You is a five out of five star, and highly recommended read.
So the moon will be entering its next full moon cycle for the year tomorrow night—which means that I should look back at the goals that I had set for the Aries full moon.
So what were my goals for the Aries full moon?
Well, they included:
Making a list of things I would enjoy doing in terms of intentional movement–and then trying to devise a schedule.
Have at least two mini-book reviews written and published on various sites
Work through at least part of a personal/professional development course
Continue reading (and possibly finishing) at least one non-fiction book that I’ve started
So how did I do with each of them?
List of things I enjoy doing in terms of intentional movement:
Those things include:
Walking (nature walks, taking Chaos for a walk, walks with friends, and ‘window’ shopping)
Weight lifting (as long as I stay away from lunges and push-ups)
Cardio (can be a DVD workout, impromptu solo dance parties, riding my bike, kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, and ebing outside)
Yoga, Pilates, and stretching
Have I designed a schedule yet? Nope—this is in large part due to both the ongoing family medical issue and then dealing with the pets (most want to be in the same room all the time—and trying to lift weights when you have cats and dogs wanting in your personal space—not fun or easy).
Two mini-book reviews written and published on various sites:
The two books that I’ve gotten around to writing mini-book reviews over were:
Bittersweet Promises (Montgomery Ink Legacy #1) by Carrie Ann Ryan
Always the One for Me (Wilder Brothers #2) by Carrie Ann Ryan
I’m hoping to finish reading Hunted in Darkness and getting that book review posted by the end of the weekend.
Watch/work through at least one module of a personal/professional development e-course:
I managed to watch a couple of short courses on Skillshare and they were:
3X your productivity with this weekly planning guide
Content Calendar made easy: Save time and develop a personal brand
Blogging rituals and routines: 10 secrets for increased blogging productivity.
Well, I’ve started a couple more non-fiction books—but haven’t finished any of them yet. As I mentioned in my ‘October in Review’ post—I go in cycles when it comes to reading non-fiction.
The best way to illustrate what I mean—oscillation waves, these waves can vary in both height and width:
That is how I view my reading cycles (regardless if it’s non-fiction or fiction).
Currently my non-fiction trend is more of the top—it’s taking more time to finish a book, and then I start numerous books, and it’s a ‘uphill’ battle to finish one (or more).
Whereas my fiction reading trend (and non-fiction trends in certain months)—resembles the bottom oscillation wave, I can read several books within a short period and have no problems moving on to another book (or going back and re-reading books).
So—I know that I need to try to decrease the ‘height’ of the non-fiction oscillation wave to have it match the height of the non-fiction oscillation wave over the next few weeks/months.
Well—I managed to accomplish about seventy percent of my goals for the Aries full moon. The only one that I didn’t get ‘accomplished’ was the non-fiction reading—which based on how October went, I wasn’t shocked to see that I didn’t accomplish it.
Seventy percent works well with the motto that I’m using for the final quarter of 2022—‘Progress over Perfection’.
Sometimes it is difficult to catch all the little negative stories/thoughts that run through our heads—so when I don’t catch them right away, it means I’ve accidentally let the inner critic/imposter syndrome out to play.
But, I’m getting better at catching them…I think they only ‘played’ for a few days during the Aries full moon.
So now, I’m going to celebrate this win—and then look ahead to the Taurus full moon.
How did you do with your personal/professional goals last month?
So, we’re in November…that means there are only two months, 61 days, roughly nine weeks, or 1,464 hours left in 2022. It’s the final sixth of 2022, and I’m trying to figure out what and how much stuff I can get accomplished before both the end of November and the end of 2022.
As I mentioned last month—I’m tired, burnt out (more on life overall than career), and really ready for this year, and the decade to basically be over.
October was even a bigger mess than September—which is saying something. So how was it a bigger mess than September?
Well—the ongoing family medical issue that I mentioned having started in my August in Review (and touched upon in my September in Review)—it’s still ongoing, and there was a point where it wasn’t looking very good. Currently we’re back to the fifty-fifty chance of it going either way.
I’m also trying to stay off the news (I know that this is showing my privilege—but with my current mental health state—I need to stay off of it). But I will just say—Russia should be kicked off the UN Security Council and kicked out of the UN in general.
By the time the family medical issue is resolved, I won’t be surprised if in addition to the moderate cases of depression and anxiety, I don’t also have a moderate case of PTSD as well.
Elections are coming up next week for the US—and this is where I’m going to share my two-cents.
Basic human rights are on the ballot this year. Women’s rights (voting and health care), sensible gun laws, the environment, education—all of it are on the line. For whatever reason there is a major dichotomy between the two major political parties within the US—and I don’t mind debating how each view finances, the budget, and those topics—but I won’t debate my stance on women’s rights, education, gun control, the environment, or issues I consider to be general ‘moral’/’common sense’ issues.
Therefore, if we elect more common sense and/or liberal individuals to Congress—we can end the filibuster, expand the Supreme Court, enact term limits for both the Supreme Court and Congress, and finally codify women’s health care and gun control into law.
And I’ll end my political/social/economical ‘rant’ here, before it takes over the post.
In terms of the total number of cases of the virus within the US, when I published ‘September in Review’ on October 1st, I noted that we had reached a little over 98.2 million cases and now as of November 1st —we have reached just a little over 99.3 million cases (an increase of a little over 1.1 million cases). So, numbers are staying ‘steady’—though I’d like to see the number actually start going down again. But there are the various omicron subs-strains running amok.
So—please, wear a mask, wash your hands, practice social distancing, and get boosted when needed.
I thought I’d manage to get my booster shot in October—but with the way the beginning of the month went…this task fell by the wayside. Hopefully I can get around to scheduling it for sometime in November (and possibly the flu shot—if its free as well).
While trying to keep the mental health on an even keel—I’m still trying to lean more into my strengths and values: knowledge, creativity, curiosity, spirituality, evolution/transformation (values), learner, intellection, input, achiever, and deliberative (strengths). Though sometimes it doesn’t help having the background/understanding of medical issues…ignorance is bliss at times.
So before setting goals for November, its time to look back at the goals I set for October and see how I did with each of them. The goals for October included:
At least one partial walk at Boomer Lake, and at least five to ten minutes of intentional movement a day
Finish at least one non-fiction book
Read at least two-to-four fiction books
Commit to the no spend days/no spend weeks/limited spending challenge
Time outdoors, meditation/sitting quietly, daily gratitude journal entries, and daily oracle drawings
Getting the second blog/website up and running
Working through at least one module of a personal/professional development course
Writing, writing, and writing
So how did I do with each goal?
I managed to get 134,240 steps in during the month of October—basically right in the middle between hitting a little over 4K steps a day and the ‘goal’ of 5K steps a day. I managed two walks at Boomer—a partial and a full, plus took Chaos through the neighborhood once. Hopefully I will be able to get Chaos out on more walks in November, plus have an late morning/early afternoon walk at Boomer Lake at least once or twice in November.
At least one partial walk at Boomer Lake, and at least five to ten minutes of intentional movement a day:
I managed to get in one partial walk and one full walk at Boomer Lake, plus a walk through the neighborhood with Chaos. I probably managed about five minutes or so each day of ‘intentional’ movement (which for me means helping our elderly, arthritic dog in and out of the house).
Finish at least one non-fiction book:
I’m still reading Trilobite: Eyewitness to evolution; and I’m about thirty percent of the way through the book. I’m almost finished with INNERCISE; and I’m about eighty percent of the way done with that book–so I should possibly finish it sometime in November.
I’ve realized that I have cycles when it comes to reading non-fiction books—I can read several in a month (or over a period of say two months), then I go for a month (or longer) where I only end up reading a little bit of different non-fiction books (as none really grab my full attention).
Read at least two-to-four fiction books:
I’m pretty certain that I read more than four books during October (but didn’t track how many were re-reads). But teh four fiction books that I know I read during October were:
Give Me Love (Rose Canyon #2) by Corinne Michaels
Bittersweet Promises (Montgomery Legacy #1) by Carrie Ann Ryan (book review was posted last week)
Fractured Sky (Tattered & Torn #5) by Catherine Cowles
My Favorite Mistake (Paradise Bay Billionaire Brothers #4) by Claudia Buroga
In addition, I also finally got around to writing and posting the book review for Always the One for Me (Wilder Brothers #2) by Carrie Ann Ryan.
Commit to the no spend days/no spend weeks/limited spending challenge
My goal for October was a minimum of 22 days but aiming for 29.
Well, I managed seventeen days (just a little over half the month) without buying any extra e-books, or other stuff. But since how bad the beginning of the month was (in terms of the family medical issue)–managing seventeen days isn’t too shabby.
Time outdoors, meditation/sitting quietly, daily gratitude journal entries, and daily oracle card drawings:
There was time outdoors—possibly not as much as I would have liked—but we’re heading into the cooler months, and unless the sun is directly overhead, it can get chilly sitting outside (even in a sweatshirt).
I’ve been making use of the soothing pod mediation app at night—and managing to sit and focus on the mediation for at least five minutes (some of the meditations are upwards of ten to fifteen minutes).
I’ve been on track doing my daily gratitude journal entries, and doing daily oracle card drawings. For October I was using the Oracle of the Shapeshifters deck:
In addition to creating graphics and other multimedia items on Canva—I’ve also been spending quite a bit of time working on a new cross-stitch project (that I’ll hopefully have completed sometime during the month of November).
Getting the second blog up and running:
Still working on this….
Working through at least one module of a personal/professional development course:
I watched three short courses on Skillshare during October, and they were:
3x your productivity with this weekly planning guide
I liked the course–though I didn’t print off the planning guide. Basically you’re given ten tips on how to improve your week (and those tips could also be applied to one’s monthly or even yearly calendars).
The tips that the instructor gave were:
Visualize your goals
Celebrate and appreciate small and big wins
Just say No (to things you don’t want to be doing)
Major lessons and inspirations (from the previous week/month)
Failure is feedback
Who can I help? Who would I benefit from?
Feed your soul
Focus (top three priorities for the week)
Daily goals and review (break the three top priorities down into actionable steps for each day)
Needless to say—I’m still working on incorporating some of these tips into my schedule/life.
Content Calendar Made Easy: Save Time and Develop a Personal Brand
This was a decent course—it talked about taking your top traits (but traits in terms of what works best for content development) and mixing them with different types of content prompts (such as FAQs, behind the scene, future plans, and so forth).
I know my strengths/values—but am still working on how to meld those into my brand, but also realize I should be thinking of traits as well (would be having to brainstorm with others on this one).
Blogging Rituals and Routines: 10 secrets for increasing blogging productivity
This was a good course, and similar to the other productivity course gave ten different tips on how to improve one’s productivity.
The ten tips this instructor gave were:
Clean up your office/desk space
Organize drawers and files
Clean up your computer files
Remove things that don’t belong in the office (ties in with #1)
Write at the same time everyday
Have a daily, weekly, or monthly word count goal
Have a daily time goal for writing (say fifteen minutes each day)
Go on a ‘blogging retreat’
Go on a weekly solo artist date
Put on your ‘writing’ clothes each day
In addition, there were the suggestions of going for a morning walk, and changing your scenery (going somewhere other than your home ‘office’) to help improve your productivity.
There are several things that I need to do to help improve my productivity—and the big one is to create a couple of functional (but fun) work spaces in the house. One in my bedroom (which will be the biggest challenge), and then another in either the living room or dining room (since I split the time I spend working in different areas of the house).
Writing, writing, and writing:
I managed to get quite a bit of writing done overall during the month of October. I think I managed to do all three of my weekly post series on LinkedIn (Science Tuesday, Thoughtful Thursday, and the Oncology Friday), plus several posts for the creative/reflective blog.
I still need to work on drafting more blog posts (especially for the medical/science/health blog) in addition to starting to build out a portfolio of different communication style projects (mini-reviews; clinical trial summaries, slide decks, posters, and infographics).
What other lessons did I learn in October?
Trust your gut. I almost landed a freelance client for a writing project—but the payment method that they wanted to use was extremely phishy—so I politely declined (after having drafted an contract), and two days later—they’d blocked me on LinkedIn and the conversation thread disappeared as well (I wonder if I try to send another email if it would go through???).
Slowly dip your toe outside your comfort zone—but be completely honest and transparent with the other party.
A recruiter reached out to me on LinkedIn about a potential remote writing position focusing on oncology—great, I’m dipping my toes into the field, but was honest that I didn’t have the post-doc or publication experience that their client wanted. The recruiter thanked me, and basically then terminated the conversation (in all it was less than a five minute phone call).
In addition last week, I reached out to someone who was looking for a freelance science/medical writer—and while they aren’t sure if they’re going to be taking on that particular project—they gave me the idea/suggestion of possibly doing consulting work for training/on-boarding science/medical writers.
So, while I may not have made progress with all the goals (still need to carve out time to focus on the other blog/website)—overall progress was made during the month of October. There should always be room for improvement (if nothing else—extending the ‘goal’ line [in terms of steps for fitness, or words/time for writing).
So looking further into November, what are my goals going to be? Well, they’re going to include:
Hopefully at least one partial walk at Boomer Lake and at least five to ten minutes of intentional movement each day
Finish at least one of the many non-fiction books I’ve started
Read at least two-to-four fiction books
Commit to the no-spend days/no spend weeks/limited spending month challenge (aiming for at leat 22 days; goal is 27)
Time outdoors, meditation/sitting quietly, daily oracle card drawings, and daily gratitude journal entries
Craft time (finish the one cross-stitch project, start a new one, and/or possibly create some jewelry)
Working through at least part of one personal/professional development e-course
Getting the second blog/website up and running
Writing, writing, and writing
So the goals for November are basically identical to the goals for October; and technically are identical to the goals for September.
The only goal in October that I really ‘fell’ down on was getting the second blog/website up and running. It is technically ‘live’—I just need to write the copy for the various pages, get the blog up and going, and start developing the portfolio.
In terms of how I’m hoping November will go—I’m going to be pessimistically optimistic, and just try to take things a day/week at a time. This means that I might have to scrap the weekly to-do list if something goes south—or I might get more accomplished, because I’ll be hyper-focused on something other than the family medical issue.
I’m still going to be aiming to become more consistent—especially in terms of posting to the different blogs (I have a editorial/content calendar created [more or less] for LinkedIn, and semi-created for this blog—just need to work on one for the other blog).
Becoming more consistent will really let me lean into my strengths and values: learning/knowledge, creativity, curiosity, spirituality, evolution/growth, and intellection.
In addition—they all give me great practice at time and project management as I’m aiming for at least 85% overall completion (I’m fully acknowledging that I may not hit the step goal, and that I may also not have that much time outside—but I can work towards all the other ones).
Time/project management goes hand in hand with consistency and productivity. I’m going to be making more use of airtable (for content/project management—it’s a calendar and spreadsheet in one space), an old fashion timer, and pen/paper to manage my time and projects.
Curious to know what is your favorite time, project, or productivity tracker/manager?
‘Always the One for Me’ takes place shortly after ‘One Way Back to Me’ and features Evan and Kendall.
Evan and Kendall have a history and past—they met on a plane to Vegas, had a whirlwind romance and got married.
Then things fell apart…or more specifically—Evan had a hair-brain idea on how to keep Kendall safe…
Now Evan is out of the military and trying to run a resort/winery combo with his brothers in the middle of Texas.
One position that needs to get filled—head chef
The top candidate happens to be Kendall, Evan’s ex-wife.
Promising to be civil to each other, she’s hired as the head chef for the Wilder Resort and Winery.
Well, they still have chemistry through the roof…
Can they have the discussion—that they should have had years ago, and find their way back to each other?
What types of trouble will the Dodge family try this time?
The answers to these, and a wonderfully written enemies-to-lovers story can be found within the pages of ‘Always the One for Me’.
I absolutely love this series and am waiting for the other brothers to get their happily-ever-afters before I try to pick a favorite.
I’m also hoping for more guest appearances by their in-laws up in Colorado as well.
While this review is late (Always the One for Me has been available on-line for a few months now)—I give it a solid five out of five stars and highly recommend it to anyone who love the Montgomery Ink world, or who wants to give Carrie Ann Ryan’s books a try.
Welcome back to Colorado, and the next generation of Montgomerys.
Bittersweet Promises is the ‘kick-off’ book for Montgomery Ink Legacy series—which will be following all the ‘kids’ of the original Montgomerys as they navigate adulthood—honoring their parents’ legacy—but at the same time carving their own paths.
Bittersweet Promises is Leif and Brooke’s story.
Leif is all grown up, and while he’s opened another tattoo shop—he’s still figuring out life…
Like will he find the type of connection he had years ago in Paris??
Brooke is now a single mother, who packed everything up and moved back to Denver—taking a professor position at the local university.
As they start to unpack, a neighbor offers to rope her cousin into helping them unpack—and who is the cousin—none other than Leif Montgomery…
Their paths haven’t crossed in years…since Paris…can they talk and find their way back to each other?
They both have issues to work through…
Leif still struggles with early childhood memories, and trying to figure out who is sending him ‘odd messages’.
Brooke is trying to her son settled, and get a lab up and running…and not everyone is happy to see her…
Will they overcome their obstacles and find their way back to each other?
The answers…plus guest appearances by numerous Montgomerys can be found within the pages of Bittersweet Promises—which is now available for purchase everywhere.
I absolutely loved this book and the premise for the series—the next generation of Montgomery kids all grown up and making their own paths. What I really love—is the glimpse of the original Montgomerys—because lets face it, I don’t see any of the Montgomerys just sitting back and letting their kids face the unknown and possible dangers.
Of course, there is cheese, snarkiness, and just a feeling of coming home when you start reading any book within the Montgomery Ink World.
I’m looking forward to the next several books in the series, and can’t wait to read Lake’s story.
Bittersweet Promises, Montgomery Ink Legacy #1 is a five out five star book
The summer is slowly winding down, tourists are still around—but the year-round residents are eagerly waiting for things to get ‘dull’….
But let’s face it—things are never ‘dull’ on Gansett Island.
Resilience After Dark is Cindy and Jace’s story and picks up shortly after Blackout After Dark and Temptation after Dark.
Cindy is looking for a new roommate to help cover the cost of living on the island year-round, since Julia moved out…
Jace moved to the island to be closer to his sons, and now needs to find a place since the end of summer means the end of the free room at the Beachcomber…
Cindy and Jace both have ‘troubled’ pasts…but they may be the exact person the other needs…
So, grab a cold drink and a comfortable chair and sail back to Gansett Island…
In addition to seeing how Cindy and Jace’s relationship pans out, you can check in with the rest of the year-round residents…
See how Maddie and Mac are handling their crew, and how Mac handles the snip…
Are the younger Lawry brothers sticking around for the winter?
How are Jared and Lizzie handling parenthood?
To find out—pick up Resilience After Dark, now available everywhere…
I absolutely love this series, as each book is stand-alone but at the same time allows you to check-in with other characters and couples that had been featured in previous books.
So, if you haven’t checked out the Gansett Island series—here is your little nudge to do so…there are now twenty-five books to binge read, and they’re perfect for either a hot summers day read, or a cold winter days read.
Resilience after Dark is a five out of five star read