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Wednesday, July 18, 2018

The good, the bad and the ugly cry

We all have them, good days, bad days and ugly cry days. It's healthy to have them, but don't dwell on the less than perfect days. Take them and learn from them. I have never been the healthiest person, but I tried to be the best I could on the good days. It wasn't until this past fall when I became seriously chronically ill and no one really knew what was the matter that I kinda just gave up. I spent about eight months in bed and at doctor offices. No clear answers. This happens to more people than we realize. Now the important moment is ones life is the realization that bad days don't define us. It doesn't matter if it's from physical illness, mental illness, being overwhelmed in life or anything else. What matters is how we handle it.

I'm one of the lucky ones, I have a very supportive family. They encouraged me to get back into writing when I could no longer hold down a job outside of the home. My mother, husband and children all wanted me to be happy and productive. The thing that I didn't realize then, that I do know is that if I push myself, I become more productive, and I'm happier. This leads to more good days than bad days. I still have bad days, today as I write this I am having one. Dealing with lots of pain, a headache and emotional stress. Yes I even had a little ugly cry. To pull myself out I decided to push through and write. We need to recognize when we need a break and when we need to push through.

This was the same when my kids were little. Not a single one of my three kids liked to sleep through the night. I like to joke that between pregnancy, babies and toddlers, I didn't sleep for twelve years. Truth is, that was no joke. If you're a parent, you understand how hard it can be to care for a colicky baby off an hours rest. Yes at times I wanted to run away. Actually one time I did. My husband had just got home and I left, without saying a thing. I walked around the block for about 90 minutes. I calmed myself and returned to my responsibilities. Several years later my now adult daughter has told me how that affected her. I didn't mean to hurt my children, we never do. As a mom, as a human we all need to escape sometimes. I've now learned that I can get the same escape by taking time to myself and doing something I love.

So next time you are having a bad day, an ugly cry or the urge to run away. I'd like to remind you that you aren't alone and that you deserve that mini melt down. It will get better and the good days will return. Find what helps you have more good days, remember to see the good in your life, the smile on your kids face, the encouragement from your loved ones. Everyday I try to remind myself of all the things I have to be grateful for. Today, I'm grateful to have the ability and courage to write it down and share it with you.

I hope you are having a good day and please feel free to share what you're grateful for in the comments.


Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Kindness Matters

So often these days I see the changes in humanity. When I was growing up, we would always offer our seat on the bus to an elderly, an expectant mother, even mother with a young child. I rarely see this done anymore. It's so much more than that though. With a heavy online presence taking over, people can hide behind their keyboards and attack others. It seems so many people are out for their own agenda and don't so much care who they roll over to get to it.

Today while my husband and I were out, we saw a tire in the middle of the road. It was too far for us to get, but my husband said " I wonder if anyone will get that?" A moment later we saw a man get out of his vehicle and begin to roll the tire to the rightful owner. This isn't something we see frequently anymore and it saddens me. A video I saw yesterday, showed a man losing his shit on a woman for wearing a Puerto Rico shirt, the police did nothing and the man was right up in her face. Like since when can we treat people this way because they are proud of their heritage? She was a citizen, she had the proper permit to be where she was, who cares what she was wearing?

Another thing that is common lately is anonymous comments online. This is where the trolls come out. I've seen it for years. It used to be common with teens throwing hate to each other, but now I see it with adults. My question is, what are we teaching our children by showing so much hatred to others? Why do we as adults have to be so consumed with other peoples lives? Can't we just be nice to one another, and if you don't like someone...stop following them on social media. It seems pretty simple to me. I don't look at someones facebook and then start complaining that they bought a new truck or decided to have another baby. I don't criticize them for every little choice they make. Why? Because it doesn't affect my life. The lady across the street having a baby, is not my concern. I congratulate her and move on. Do I want to have another child, nope...3 is enough for me. Did I have them all at the perfect time, HELL NO. Did I raise smart, polite, caring , independent young adults? You bet I did! I will save my bragging for another post.

My point is that kindness matters, so often people complain about how entitled kids are today, how they have zero respect. Well guess what, we are the ones teaching this to our kids. So the next time you see an elderly person trekking through the snow with their cane, stop your car offer to help them, maybe give them a ride. When you see a child fall off their bike, stop and make sure they are okay. A lady at the store who is a dollar short for her bill, well pay it forward and give her a hand. Most of all stop hiding behind the computer screen tearing others apart. You never know when you might need someone's kindness, so do your best to be the kindest person you can be. Most of all remember kindness is contagious. Spread love not hate and the world we become a better place.

 XOXO, Charlotte

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Time to get a little personal

I've made the decision to blog every Wednesday, Although today is Thursday. Why did I wait an extra day? Well I wanted to share some personal things I've been dealing with and it had to wait till today. As mentioned in a previous post, I've been dealing with some health issues. Lots of blood work, diagnostic tests and specialists. Well the good news is I'm getting closer to a diagnosis. I want to share my last year with you.

Well I thought it all started in August, but have since learned many of my health issues even from childhood are relevant. In August I got this god awful rash (I thought it was an allergic reaction), someone compared it to vacuum suction marks. It was painful and I could hardly move. I spent nearly every day in urgent care or the doctors office. I was put on oral steroids for 6 weeks. At the end of August I saw a specialist who did what's called a punch biopsy of the marks I had. The results came back positive for  leukocytoclastic vasculitis (LCV). This is an autoimmune disease of the vascular system, there is no cure. LCV is commonly a secondary diagnosis to other autoimmune disorders. So we continued with more tests. Everything was coming back negative, yet I was in so much pain, I was exhausted, like couldn't even lift my head. I'd sleep for 18+ hours a day and couldn't function. We knew something was wrong, but couldn't pinpoint it. I saw my PCP, a dermatologist, an internist, a resident that specialized in rheumatology, a cardiologist and had a referral for a rheumatologist. My PCP, the intenist and resident all thought it was fibromyalgia. Well I have a nursing background and just didn't feel that was it. I still thought there was more to my story.

Finally in June I saw the Rheumatologist, for those of you that don't know they specialize in autoimmune disorders. Well after one hour with me, she went over signs and symptoms, looked over photos and said she's convinced it's Lupus. So back for more blood work I go. She also informed me she saw signs of it in my blood work from August. Now I will admit, this is the exact diagnosis I suspected. Most people it takes years to get diagnosed, but it looks like less than a year for me. So I feel very lucky. If you don't know, Lupus is a disorder where your immune system attacks your own body. There is no cure only treatment, which isn't very pleasant either. Lupus can also attack your organs. I already have suspected kidney and heart involvement.

So why am I happy to get diagnosed with this? Well simple, the sooner I start treatment the better it is for me. People with Lupus are now living full life expectancy with proper care and treatment. I also spent the past nine months in bed, my memory failing, couldn't get my thoughts straight or even out at times, no will to go on, no motivation and depression took over. I was one 12 different medications (I hate taking meds). I'm ready to face my disease head on. So I said enough is enough, I started writing again and here we are, release week for the revised version of Immortal Embrace. I vowed to not let my disease win over my life. I have my drive back again and so excited for what the future holds.

Today I had a MPI Stress test. This is a test of the heart, I had to walk on a treadmill until a target heart rate was met. I was injected with a special dye and the MRI photos were taken of my heart. I returned 3 hours later for more MRI photos to be taken. I won't have any results for a few days, and have five...yes five more heart tests coming up between now and October. I see the Rheumatologist at the end of this month and will hopefully start treatment as well as further investigation into my kidney's.

So that's my story, I want you all to know that no matter what it is you might be going through, you're not alone. reach out to me on social media, email, whatever. I'm here to listen. I'm writing again, and have like 7 books coming out before Christmas (including the revised Embrace Series). I will keep everyone updated on my progress in both writing and health and thank you for standing by me. I love you all.


Thursday, June 28, 2018

Immortal Embrace (revised edition)

Just a short post tonight. It's almost time, Immortal embrace will be re-released on July 2, 2018. This comes 7 years and 1 day after the original release. There are some minor changes, and some big fixes. I'm so excited to share it with you.

Currently you can pre-order the kindle edition. Now for the big moment, the amazing new cover!

I hope you all love it as much as I do. Who's ready to get Embraced for the first time or all over again?

All my love,

Monday, June 25, 2018

My jump to Indie Publishing

If you didn't already know, I recently left my publisher (who was amazing) to try out the indie author arena. At least five times a day I scream "WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?". Okay, so indie publishing isn't for the faint of heart. It is a LOT of hard work and long hours.

You might be asking yourself, why did I leave my publisher? Well The Embrace Series has been with World Castle Publishing since 2011. I feel it did very well. I learned a lot and even traveled for book signings. I hard tons of fun and loved my job. My contract has been up for several years, but I remained with my publisher. I had the worst case of writer's block, I couldn't even go over edits for another book I'd finished. It was okay, I started a new career, working with special needs children, got sick, had surgery and returned to work. I ran for city office and then got sick again, although this time I'm not getting any better. So now I'm jobless, sick, and have lost all direction. 

Jump to June, 2018...I GOT MY MOJO BACK! After months of pouting and not doing anything, I started writing again. This got me excited and I decided to get my rights back for The Embrace Series, re-write and re-release it. I still have such a good feeling about this story, I just think I released it at the wrong time and want to do even better by my fans. I am doing this via self publishing. I can't even explain how excited I am to re-release my first series to you as well as a whole new audience. As I write this, I'm awaiting the proofs for my new covers from my amazing cover artist. I have to admit, the wait is killing me. 

So, although I left the comfort of a publishing house, I am learning so much about becoming an indie author. I'm pretty sure some of the other indies are getting sick of my questions. I do like to have all the control, I don't like depending on or waiting on other people. Self publishing makes me accountable and no one else.  I feel good, I feel accomplished, book 1 Immortal Embrace is uploaded and just waiting on the cover. I hope to release it July 1, exactly 7 years after it's first release. It looks so pretty, and I love some of the changes I've made to the story. I can't wait to share The Embrace Series with you all, as well as The Climb, my stand alone romance novel. 

As for my health, yeah I'm still sick, but I'm making huge leaps and bounds to getting a diagnosis and proper treatment. I will survive and I will continue to write. I hope to have you all standing beside me through it all. 


Friday, May 25, 2018

Where have I been?

It's been a long and exciting 4 year break I took from writing. Yes life got in the way, I lost my drive for writing, my muse. Well I'm back and I'm sorry it's been so long. I've been receiving lots of emails and messages encouraging me to write more, to come back to what I love. Well I want to start by sharing the last 4 years with you.

So much has happened in such a short time. Here's a brief break down of my life the last little while. Near the beginning of my lets call it a sabbatical, my eldest daughter at the age of 15 moved to NYC on her own to attend Joffrey Ballet school. It was a dream come true for her, and for us. We were so proud. A few months later I went to work for the local school board as a special needs learning assistant. My nursing background help immensely with this rewarding and challenging job. This is where I really lost my drive to write. Working a full time job, taking care of the other two children and the household was enough for me.

About a year into my job I began suffering some health concerns. Nothing major, but I was bedridden for several months and had surgery. Jorden was now home from NYC and finishing her senior year of high school.  She helped me so much with her younger siblings, but was still busy herself. Anyways, once healed from surgery, I returned to work. I transferred schools at the end of the school year.

Now I loved my job, I love working with kids. I just felt that I needed to do more. So being very interested in politics, I ran in the civic election, increased my volunteering and ran my ass off. It was an exciting year. Until I got sick again. During the election I became really ill. I struggled to keep up with my obligations. I basically stopped campaigning the last two weeks, when everyone else was out in full force. Now I didn't withdraw because I wanted to follow through. I did very well, but thankfully I did not win a seat on our city council. Everything happens for a reason. I really do believe that.

That brings me to the last seven months. I have left my job with the school, been trapped in bed and seeing so many doctors and tests. We still don't know exactly what is medically wrong, aside from it being some kind of autoimmune disorder. I have been learning how to live my new life. A life with chronic disease. I'm not sharing this for sympathy, because none is needed. It is just a new way of life.

So what better way to heal the mind and body than doing something you love? For several months my mother (yes even at my age she still tells me what to do) has been telling me to start writing again. Well lets just say after being the stubborn child that doesn't listen, my mom was right. The moment I picked up my computer and started writing again, I felt a sense of relief. I found myself again.

Now with all that out, I hope you will all follow along on this journey with me. Oh and start rereading The Embrace Series, because there will be a new instalment. 

Monday, May 21, 2018

The Royal Wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle

What better way to bring me back to writing than a royal love story? I have been MIA from the writing world for about 5 years. Life took over, but I am back now. My first returning blog post is about the Royal Wedding. I have been a royal admirer my entire life, but the newest romance has sucked me in deep and I am officially obsessed. Why you may ask, well it's simple, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are such an inspiration.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are both huge philanthropists in their own right. Long before ever meeting each half of this power couple had done amazing things to make this world a better place. Of course Harry is obligated to some point by duty, but no one made him create the Invictus games. He also continued with many of his late mothers charities. One of my favorite causes Harry is a part of is mental health. So many people are scared of mental health issue, they hide them, but the Royal family has been fantastic at bring a new light to the issue. Now Meghan, she started as age as a feminist, fighting for equality, something she continued into her adult years. Meghan has also been part of The Clean Water project. Something I personally would love to be apart of.

Now it's likely you know as much about their love story as I do, so its mute point to recap every little thing. What I will do is point out some things that make my heart flutter, as well as pieces that I personally feel are so important to our history. Everyone knows that Meghan is a biracial American actress and that Harry is the prince of England (sixth inline to the throne). Myself being a Canadian, I feel like we have a special place in their love story. After all Meghan was living and working here in Canada when they courted. I think that is a really cool way for Canadians to feel involved. Not to forget that we are also part of the commonwealth.

On May 19, 2018 I stayed up all night to watch their wedding. Of course right away there were people around the world ready to tear apart every little detail. First off I want to say to these people, it really doesn't matter what anyone else thinks, because it was their wedding and they planned it the way they wanted. They are truly the only people that matter here. We were blessed that they shared their day with us.

The dress, many of us waited with baited breath to see what Meghan would wear. I loved watching Meghan and her mother drive to the wedding in complete amazement and excitement for their special day. Mother and daughter together, soft smiles, fighting back tears of joy and still waving to all the adoring onlookers. Once arriving at the church and stepping out of the car, we finally got our first view of the dress. It looked simplistic and feminine, but it wasn't until Meghan stood atop of the church stairs and her sixteen foot viel was laid out to be admired that we got the full effect. I thought it was such a beautiful sight. The simple ivory silk gown and the long veil, which has a special touch of embroidered flowers from all the 53 commonwealth countries. I loved the simple way the dress framed her shoulders and felt she picked the perfect dress for her royal wedding and yet kept it true to herself. She also paired it with the Queen Mary tiara, one of the simpler royal jewels. Absolutely stunning!

The service, many people were surprised by parts of the wedding, such as the bishop, Meghan's mom sitting alone and more. Well here are a few little things I noticed about the wedding and what I found so amazing about them. It started with Meghan entering the church and walking the first part by herself. Her father wasn't able to fulfill this duty as he was recovering from heart surgery. Meghan a known feminist, decided to make the walk on her own. I would have done the same thing. It is tradition for fathers to walk their daughters down the aisle, maybe she didn't want to replace her father with anyone else. We will never know the true reason behind her decision. Once Meghan entered the second part of the church, she was joined by her soon to be father in law, Prince Charles. I though this was such a beautiful addition. To me it showed that she was accepting Harry's family as well as them accepting her.

From the moment Meghan reached the alter, her and Harry held hands and shared many loving looks and sweet whispers. This broke royal tradition, it isn't common, even during a wedding to show PDA. Meghan and Harry have never had a problem holding hands and being loving towards one another. I think it was a beautiful testament to their relationship and love for one another. Throughout the service you could also see the emotion in them both. One of my favorite moments was during the sermon, Harry and Meghan were holding hands, Harry slightly turned toward his bride, beaming with love and admiration. He reached with his other hand and adjusted her ring that had turned slightly (this gave me all the feels).

Meghan's Mother was seated directly across from the queen. Can we just take a moment and appreciate the magnitude of this. An African-American social worker and yoga instructor, with dreads, sitting directly across from the queen of England. We are talking about a woman, like you and me, a woman that raised a beautiful caring daughter to follow her heart and her dreams, taught her to make a difference and give back to the world. She sat across from the Monarch, a woman bound by tradition and ruled by the crown, someone who's every move is bound by duty. Please tell me I'm not the only one that took in the magnitude of this sight. A strong woman that raise a strong daughter and fought back the tears of joy while she watched her daughter become a real life princess. Most of all, she did it with grace and dignity. WOW, just WOW!

Now there are so many things we could talk about, the songs played, the people that played them, the American minister and his powerful, energetic sermon and the surprise that came with it all. So much about this wedding is thrusting the Monarchy into the future. I really want to focus on the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, because its their day and their love being celebrated. Can we all agree that after the ceremony, Harry and Meghan on the steps of the church, the Royal family and Meghan's mother (who was escorted out on Prince Charles arm) standing on the steps above them. A beautiful scene with greenery and beautiful flowers. Meghan whispers to Harry, "do we kiss?" to which he responds "yes" and they share their public kiss as husband and wife.Such a beautiful moment. They even shared another during their carriage ride through The Long Walk.

Well I could go on forever about the Wedding and my admiration for this forward thinking royal couple, but I will close off with a few fun and romantic facts.
- Harry picked his mother favorite flowers from the royal garden for Meghan's bouquet.
- Meghan's shoe soles were painted baby blue (her something blue).
- Harry's gift to Meghan was his mother's aquamarine ring.
- The Bentley Jaguar (sorry had Bentley on my mind cause it's my favorite car) that they took to the evening reception had their wedding date as the plate number.
- True to royal protocol Meghan kept her nails short and neutral, as well as he make-up.
- Meghan wore her hair in her classic simple bun, staying true to herself and her style.

I just adored everything about this wedding and so glad I could see their love and passion for one another. I believe they will do great things in the future and can't wait to follow their journey in life together. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. These are obviously very down to earth people and I wish them both the best. Congratulations to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.

 The newlyweds pose for a picture on Windsor Castle's East Terrace.

The good, the bad and the ugly cry

We all have them, good days, bad days and ugly cry days. It's healthy to have them, but don't dwell on the less than perfect days. T...