Breaking the Rules is FREE Today

Today and Armed Forces Day here in the US and to celebrate those serving in the Armed Forces, Breaking the Rules is free to download. Breaking the Rules is a friends-to-lovers romance that also deals with the tough subjects of combat-related post-traumatic stress and veteran suicide so do take that into consideration before reading. But while it touches on those themes, it’s a romance in its very core, a story about hope, love, and family. It also brings you back to Taos, New Mexico where a Different Kind of Love series started!

Here are a few of the reviews, including my favorite from CarlyQ! Miss you, girl!

“I love Liz Durano’s real romance style of writing. I love her imperfect characters and how beautifully alive her locations feel. I’ve never been to Taos but someday when I go I’ll feel like I’m coming home. Loved the book!” – Carly Quinn, author of Solitude and Kawaipuna Cottage

Breaking All the Rules addresses the issue of PTSD and its impact on returned servicemen and women and their families. Liz illustrates, without judgement, the difficulties of dealing with trauma and the impact of suicide on families and communities. Her eloquence and compassion is evident throughout this story.” – Mahalia, Amazon review

“What a roller coaster ride of emotions. This book had it all. Romance, heartbreak, dealing with the side effects of PTSD & finding a way to cope, survive & come out stronger on the other side.” –Andi, Amazon review

“It’s a story filled with love, deep issues, heartache, regret and second chances and I loved every minute!” – Sheridan, Goodreads review

“I was completely hooked on this story from the first page. Sawyer and Alma are so real in their emotions and actions. They are flawed but they are working hard to be the best version of themselves they can be. Great book!!” –Ellen, Goodreads review

You can also read it in Kindle Unlimited. If you don’t have Kindle Unlimited, try it out for free here.

 

Guess Who’s Joining Wattpad Paid Stories?

When 2020 rolled around, one of my goals was to diversify my stories. Some books would be exclusive to Amazon through Kindle Unlimited while others would be available “wide,” meaning they would be available everywhere where books were sold (Apple Books, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Google Play, etc.). Some of those wide stories would also be available to read in their entirety on Wattpad like Finding Sam, Loving Ashe, and most recently, Collateral Attraction.

I first wrote Loving Ashe as a short story titled Elevator on my Morrighansmuse blog in the summer of 2013. When I posted it on Wattpad, readers were intrigued. What happened next? Did they end up together? They asked. We want to know more!

And so for NaNoWriMo 2014, I turned the 5k-word short story into the first two chapters. I called it Loving Ashe and finished it in 60 days with 110k words total. I would self-publish Loving Ashe in June 2015 and release the audiobook three years later.

Well, this year (tomorrow, May 13, to be exact!), Loving Ashe will also be part of Wattpad Paid Stories. While there are millions of free stories on Wattpad, they also have Paid Stories where readers pay with “coins.” You can pay per chapter or pay for the whole book outright (about the same cost of an ebook). Coins are available in packages of 15 to up 533 coins and you can also earn 3 free coins per day by watching ads.

It will have a new cover starting tomorrow, different from what you see above. But while Wattpad will have the exclusive rights to the digital ebook version which allows them to change the cover and have the ability to market, Loving Ashe will still remain available as a paperback and audiobook.

It’s a new adventure for me and one I’m very excited to be part of. I should have made this announcement a few months ago but in true ditzy Liz fashion, I got my dates wrong and tomorrow, it becomes reality! I hope you’ll support me and my stories on Wattpad and discover other new authors and stories along the way.

Date Night: A Mother’s Day Steamy Story

It was probably six or seven Christmases ago when my sister-in-law lamented the lack of books featuring older couples – you know, couples with kids who have are about to leave or have left home.

“Why are all the heroines in their early twenties and the men all in their thirties and forties? What about women in their thirties, forties… and older?” She asked.

Well, she did have a point because back then, there weren’t a lot of stories featuring older couples like there are now. In fact, Harlow James, my heroine in Everything She Ever Wanted emerged from that conversation three years later..

But before Harlow, there were Esme and Evan, my couple in Date Night, a short story I wrote for my SIL the following Mother’s Day after our conversation. You can read the story on my story site by clicking on the image below.

Happy Mother’s Day, everyone!

Blast From the Past: Dance for Hope (Lord of the Dance 1996 Troupe Reunion)

You’re probably wondering what this has to do with my writing blog but hang in there and I’ll tell you. First of all, I can’t believe it’s been 25 years since I first saw Lord of the Dance and fell in love with the character of the temptress played by Gillian Norris. I loved the way she brought Morrighan to life and OMG her hair! And then there’s Michael Flatley’s story of being let go from Riverdance and then coming up with Lord of the Dance, not knowing what would come out of the first show.

Talk about the perfect redemption story!

And this morning, seeing this pop up on my Facebook feed brought a happy tear to my eyes and made me wonder what would have happened if I hadn’t seen this show and loved it so much I had to write about it?

Anyway, I hope you enjoy it.

Shiny and New… Well, Almost

My late-2011 MacBook Pro has been acting up lately – it’s been too slow to do anything that I normally do (Photoshop, Ulysses, 50 tabs open on my browser, etc) until I finally decided yesterday to bite the bullet and buy a new one.

I didn’t want the basic model at all. I didn’t want a Macbook Air either – I guess once you go Pro, it’s hard to go with a MacBook Air, especially if you already have iPads to work with. It’s really just an iPad with a keyboard. And so I did some shopping – brand new versus refurbished? Groupon deals versus Best Buy?

An hour later, I made my choice, but before I could press that Buy button and put a dent on my bank account, I figured maybe it wouldn’t hurt to talk to an Apple rep and see what he recommends. After all, I do have some apps that need to run in a 32-bit environment – will it work on the new OS?

By the time the rep talked about Parallels and upgrading to 16GB memory and 2.8 processor blah blah blah, I realized that no way was he taking in consideration my stated budget of $1400 at the beginning of the conversation. Instead, he kept talking about financing, financing, financing because hey, it will cost less monthly. I don’t know what Koolaid he’s drinking but when I said $1400, I didn’t mean $3780.

I mean, sure, I could pay that but do I have to? In the middle of a pandemic?

And so it was back to the drawing board and I finally posted my dilemma in one of my favorite forums to see what they’d suggest. One of the writers suggested that if my only complaint was that my MacBook was slow, then maybe I should upgrade the memory. Turns out I only have 4GB and this model can take up to 16GB. “You can even do it yourself in minutes,” he said and when I Googled it, he was right.

I could install it myself – as long as I touch this piece of metal to ground myself… or something like that. 

Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a pair of 8GB to buy nearby ($99 plus tax and shipping) and the fastest one would be shipped next week. But after all that work researching and almost buying, I wanted it now.

So this morning, I called my computer guy and he said he had the 16GB in stock and he could pop it in there in less than 10 minutes.

“How much?” I asked.

“$120,” he replied.

“Installed?”

“Yup,” he replied, “while you wait.”

I tell you, if there’s one thing that can get me out of the house in the middle of a pandemic, mask and all, it’s because my MacBook is about to get an upgrade. Half an hour later, I was back home and updating my MacBook before really putting it to its paces. Hey, it’s not brand new but when Photoshop popped up in one second instead of the usual ten, I almost cried tears of joy.

And like that Madonna song from time gone by (you know what song I’m talking about), my Macbook Pro sure felt shiny and new.

Now I have no excuse for not writing.

None at all.

So how’s your day been so far?

Daily finds during our walks around the neighborhood

What Week is It?

These weird times have me not knowing what to do most days, at least when it comes to whose story to write! Instead, I’ve been baking flourless banana bread (back when all I had was bread flour but now I have all purpose flour!) and snickerdoodle cookies, tidying up the house Marie Kondo style, and blending relaxing yet antiviral (and dog-safe) essential oil blends for the soul!

So now, the house smells so good… and I’m starting to fall off my diet! But thanks to my essential oil blends, I’m not worried about it! Great combination, eh?

However, I am writing though – bits here and there. A chapter for one story and a chapter for a different one. Maybe that’s how the monkey mind works until I can rope all those wandering monkey thoughts and focus on one project. But I’m also not too worried about it. As long as I’m writing, I’m happy.

I’m also active on Wattpad. For those unfamiliar with Wattpad, it’s a global online community of writers and readers that’s accessible via a mobile app and a website. I started out on Wattpad in 2012 as Morrighansmuse, posting fanfiction stories of Thorin Oakenshield (The Hobbit) and Lucas North (BBC Spooks/MI5) before posting my novel chapter by chapter (after writing and proofing each one as I went) Finding Sam in 2014, Loving Ashe in 2014, and Collateral Attraction in 2015.

There’s something to be said about getting live feedback on each chapter from readers that I haven’t found anywhere else since and I just might be writing my next book that way. I also participate in contests and even received a signed copy from Margaret Atwood, thanks to a short story contest she helped curate herself where my story ended up as one of the finalists.

I don’t just post my stories on Wattpad, by the way. I read, too, and my latest read is Rancho Viejo by Cynthia Dagnal-Myron. It’s a screenplay that she’s adapting as a novel and it features a woman (in her 40s) trying to save her property from a ruthless developer.

Today, I came across this post on Facebook and it suddenly made everything I’ve been feeling make sense:

Text:

Students, colleagues and friends:

-This is why it’s been hard to focus.
-This is why it feels like it takes you twice as long to get things done.
-This is why you’ve been consumed with ensuring that you have the right “stuff” to sustain your physiological needs.
-This is why you’ve been more irritable.
-This is why you’ve been craving connection.
-This is why you’ve been feeling overwhelmed.
-This is why you’ve been physically exhausted.
-This is why you’ve been like “Oh wait, there’s a paper due?”
-This is why the idea of planning for the future is the furthest thing from your mind right now.
-This is why you only have enough mental energy to focus on the immediate.
-This is why you’ve been instinctively prioritizing self care and family.
-This is why you’ve been grasping to control what you perceive to be controllable because so much is uncontrollable and unpredictable right now.

Students, colleagues and friends:

-This is normal.
-You are not a slacker.
-You are not “crazy” (Yeah, I know we hate that word).
-You should not compare yourself to others.
-You should not buy into the narrative that you must emerge a “better person”.
-It’s ok to not be as productive – we are experiencing trauma on a global scale.
-It’s ok to “just be” and feel the way you feel about what’s happening around you and/or to you.
-It’s ok to seek help. COVID-19 is a crisis that threatens both our physical and psychological wellness.

Hope this helps you the way it helped me.

What about you? How are you doing?

What Day Is It? #QuarantineLife

Just kidding.

Of course, I know what day it is.

The 327th day of March.

Alright, it’s the 30th and so far, LilDude is on his second week of distance schooling. He woke up at 10 A.M. only to tell me he needed to sleep in. Since I was in the middle of doing post-production on what was supposed to be a Facebook Live video, I let him and proceeded to finish editing the 1:30 minute clip, post it, and then get him ready for “school.”

School is all done on the laptop through Google from Google Classroom to Google Meeting. From 11:00 to 12 noon, LilDude had breakfast and did his work, then played from noon to about 12:30 when he made himself a PB&J sandwich and got us both snacks and juice and we settled for a spot outside the garden to have lunch before doing another round of homework.  Then I decided to set up the beach tent canopy thing and I think that’s where we’ll be doing his classwork from here on especially if the weather is great like it was today.

IMG_6871

I don’t know about you but #Quarantinelife has been strange. I’ve baked, gardened, even sewed four face masks and a seat cover, and it seems like laundry and dishes are endless. By the time I sit down to write, my mind is blank — and that’s why I have to outline just so I can remember what I want to write from one moment to the next. Maybe it’s a result of the anxiety that comes with Covid-19. I hope I can find my normal soon though because it often feels like I’m living in an alternate universe.

Heck, maybe we all are!

I wish I can remember to write a diary so I can write down my thoughts. Definitely my anxieties which can change from day to day. Yesterday it was my teeth (crap, do I need to see a dentist now?) and today it’s my back that’s hurting after sitting on the floor while transferring crushed styrofoam popcorn from the bean bag to the trash bag even though I’ve got nothing to fill the empty bean bag with. And then there’s my sleep. I’m not sleeping too well. It doesn’t help that I watch shows like War of the Worlds on Epix right before bed.

In the meantime, my gray roots are showing and while I can do them myself, there’s no point right now since it’s not like I am going out. I am doing videos though, like the one I did this morning so maybe I should color my grays, right? At least, now I have all the time in the world to play with all the apps I’ve bought through the years and use them in post-production!

What about you? How’s #quarantinelife treating you and your family?

Musings Over Coffee: Self-Care Tip 1

With a lot of us staying home to limit the spread of Covid-19, it’s easy to lose ourselves on online forums and social media as we follow up on the latest updates. Before long, we’re overwhelmed and our shoulders tighten, our jaws lock and we’re an emotional mess. Maybe not all of us, but I’m sure some of us are feeling some stress.

If that happens, if you notice some shoulder tightness, here’s a way to relieve shoulder stress in 60 seconds.

Did you do it?

Did you feel your shoulders relax? I hope so! I’m going to do this whenever I feel my shoulders tighten while also setting aside the social media updates.

I’m going to try and write today in between the LilDude’s distance learning activities. And at least 30 minutes on the exercise bike and weights, too, to get some blood circulation going.

What about you? What have you been doing to relax in the time of corona?

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Musings Over Coffee: #QuarantineLife Week 1 Update

I don’t normally grind my teeth when I’m stressed (or I don’t think I do) but I do know that my shoulders get really stiff when I am. I also start feeling agitated. Imagine high school chemistry when the teacher talks about molecules zinging all over an enclosed space as it’s heated.

Well, that’s how I woke up feeling this morning.

And I think it has to do with the constant barrage of news and articles and updates about coronavirus or Covid-19. I mean, you have to be living under a rock (or in Jared Leto’s case, a silent retreat in the desert or for the cast of some French reality show, isolated from the world while they were filming) not to know about Covid-19, Wuhan, Italy, and #quarantinelife. So as of today, I’ve decided not to read Twitter or watch the updates on TV about what this official or that official is doing to combat this awful pandemic. I mean, I’ll still take a peek but I won’t do the deep dives I’ve been doing during the last week.

#QUARANTINELIFE

LilDude’s school is closed until May and they started online/distance learning today. It was interesting to see his classmates chat in the Google classroom and heartwarming to see them miss each other, too. His homeroom teacher has been amazing in making sure everyone is positive and that the parents aren’t stressed out. Today, they had their weekly assignment and LilDude was more than ready to start working on it.

And with hubby “Deemed Essential Worker” because his company processes medical claims, our new normal has him going through a decontamination procedure every time he comes home.

I’m just not thrilled by the paranoia. For example, yesterday, LilDude wanted fast food for breakfast but after hubby saw the uncertainty on my face, we ended up scrapping that idea and he made burgers that were even better than drive-through stuff. If anything, I’ve actually been cooking more. I’ve already made banana bread from scratch with flour that I didn’t realize was gluten free until after I put it in the oven (the banana bread isn’t bad but you could knock a person out if you threw it at him). Right now, I’m making corned beef and cabbage in the crockpot.

I did dig out the soccer ball and basketball and even the hula hoop so we have some outdoor activity every day. Who knew a minute doing the hula hoop was already taxing? But at least I remembered how to keep the hoop from falling. Just keep moving!

I also dug through my fabric stash hidden away in the garage on Saturday and sewed three face masks by hand. I didn’t have to make them by hand but it was actually meditative to do something other than write the next book. We got to do what we got to do. I’ll have to take down the sewing machine tomorrow so I can make a few more. I used a pattern from Freesewing.com to make the masks although the one in the photo isn’t from that but close. I needed to find something that would fit our faces – a small size for the LilDude, and a medium for DH and me. I made a large one and it turned out too large for us.

DIY face mask
That colorful mask is for the LilDude and I figure it will shrink after I throw it into the wash. Can you tell I finally have time to play with my photo apps?
ON THE WRITING FRONT

I released a book last week. Doctor’s Orders was originally scheduled for release last year before everything went to hell but it’s finally out now. It’s a fun and lighthearted novella (26k words) about a one night stand, a hot doctor in a small town, and big city dreams. It’s still 99 cents as of this blog post and and if you’ve got a Kindle Unlimited subscription, it’s a one-click to add to your library! Don’t have Kindle Unlimited? Try it out FREE for a month!

How about you? Are you under quarantine where you are? How are you spending your time?

Doctor's Orders romance novella

DOCTOR’S ORDERS: A SMALL TOWN ROMANCE

Apparently, not everything that happens in Vegas stays in Vegas…

When last year’s one-night stand turns out to be her small town’s newest and hottest doctor, advertising executive Ava Turner must decide whether her big city dreams are more important than a chance at settling down with the perfect man.

But when you’ve spent the last seven years going after that promotion—and that coveted corner office—falling in love with the right man just might be easier said than done.

Here We Go: The Weekend Edition

What strange times we live in, eh?

Today, LilDude’s school district announced that they would be closed for five weeks. Then hubby came home with a bad cough and later told me that he’s been experiencing aches and pains in the last week or so but chalked it up to all the painting he was doing in the front house which we need to get rented out.

I’ve canceled LilDude’s therapies which either had people coming to the house or us going to a park for social skills. I’ve already stopped his boxing classes at the beginning of the month and will have him practice his jabs at home instead since we have a Quiet Punch unit and they have weekly workouts through their app.

Yesterday, my brother’s co-worker failed to show up at work and so he had to work on his day off. But he kept trying to get a hold of his coworker who had moved to a new apartment but didn’t share the address with anyone. Luckily, he found a phone number of one of her friends and they knew where she now lived. Turns out the coworker had suffered a stroke and had been on the floor of her new apartment for at least five to six hours before her friend came and called paramedics. She suffered extensive brain bleed and no longer has higher level functioning. Her daughter flew in to be with her but the building management won’t let her into her mother’s apartment unless she has power of attorney which her mother didn’t have. So now my brother tells me we need to have power of attorney forms in addition to our living wills, something we never even thought to do.

I called my mother today to ask her how she’s doing (all stocked up and prepped to the gills they can barely move around their studio apartment) and she couldn’t stop talking about some publishing company called Triumph books that sends out books about the Revelations for free. She even signed me up to receive the books and the newsletter without my consent because didn’t I know that the Vatican is behind so many crimes throughout history and “how can you still follow your religion after learning that?”

I can only pick so many battles and hills to die on and the Vatican wasn’t one of them but at least, I got to talk to her and let her know I was thinking of her during these crazy times.

After all, we’re living in wild and crazy times where people are fighting over toilet paper and racing along Costco’s aisles to be the first to grab 2 cases of water before the store runs out by midday. Today, my local food store was suddenly packed with people shopping for everything – not a single pound of ground turkey or chicken left on the racks (I went to get Italian sausage for spaghetti tonight and that was all gone). The woman behind me in line drove from 40 miles away because she said their local stores had no toilet paper or paper towels left and she needed them for their church services this weekend. When she heard the little beach town I live in still had them, she got in her car immediately.

It made me wonder if we have everything we need and I think we’re okay for the next two weeks. Tomorrow I’m going to be writing the possible menu choices available so LilDude knows what’s up. He’s such a picky eater but during times like these, he has to learn to eat what’s there. I also need to teach him not to be wasteful because he is. It’s strange to see kids these days getting everything they want and having so much of whatever they want that they don’t think twice about wasting that half bottle of water or bowl of food. I’m now in that stage of life where a lot of what I say starts with, “when I was your age…” only to see it land on deaf ears.

On the writing front, I’m writing a different book for now and when it’s done, I’m simply publishing it and the rest of the books without fanfare. No cover reveal and all that jazz. Hell, I’ve even given up on Instagram because there are really only so many hours of the day. I can really only do so much and keep a calm head about me with everything going around.

What about you? How’s your weekend going?