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Sometimes our partners in life do and say the most amazing, perfect things. Things we can hold on to, treasure, and weave into the fabric of our lives. Touchstones that sustain us. Sometimes our partners are perfect.

Don’t worry, honey, I’m not expecting it on a daily basis. But it sure helps.

This week’s song is by Jackson Browne.

Please click here to enjoy.

Have a great week, my lovelies. Hug your darlings.

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This post was written by Erika Gardner. She’s a native Californian, lifelong lover of fantastical adventures, and a dedicated Whovian. If you enjoyed it, please sign up to receive updates on www.erikagardner.com   Or you can follow Erika on Twitter @Erika_Gardner, “Like” her Facebook page Erika Gardner- Writer and Storyteller.Or check out her contributions to the BBB Blog. Erika’s debut novel, The Dragon in The Garden can be found at Tirgearr Publishing.

 

This week’s interview is with the wonderfully dynamic and endlessly joyful Jordan Bernal. I met Jordan through TriValley Writers Group, an organization I highly recommend for local authors looking to connect and educate themselves. http://www.trivalleywriters.org/

Jordan and I both write, in very different ways, of dragons. In addition we are both of Irish descent and have a lifelong love of Anne McCaffrey. Naturally, I’m thrilled to be able to introduce you all to her and her fabulous book,

Jordan, thanks so much for stopping by this week!

The Keepers of Éire

The Keepers of Éire is a modern-day fantasy. For centuries dragons have protected Ireland, their existence kept secret with the help of earth magic and their human riders. Now that secret is threatened as the bodies of four riders are found at sacred Irish sites. Christian Riley, a man with secrets of his own, is haunted by vivid dreams of each slaying. An American searching for her Irish heritage and the meaning of an inherited dragon ring, Devan Fraser, stumbles into the mystery of the murders. Christian’s only memento from the mother who gave him up for adoption is a dragon pendant that matches Devan’s ring. Together they discover their destinies, the truth of dragons, and the depth of honor and loyalty to which people will go to protect the ones they love.

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  • Important stuff first… what do you like to raise a glass to and what is your favorite way to toast?

Family and friends are important to me, so celebrating their achievements are a must. I’m not a big drinker, but I do love a properly built Guinness. I like to toast by saying a brief bit about what is being celebrated, then wish everyone health and happiness, and end with Sláinte (pronounced ‘slawnt-cha’, which means Cheers)!

  • When and how did you know you were a writer? Did any books help you along the way?

It’s so clichéd to say I’ve always written, but I will say I’ve had a love affair with reading since I was quite young. In elementary school I claimed to have trouble reading just so I could have an excuse to read more. I loved making up stories, and once—when I was about seven-years-old—I challenged myself to write a whole story with each word starting with the letter T. I wrote about taking a ride on Timothy the Train. Perhaps the real beginning of Thomas the Train? I used to be a technical writer in my past life. Vastly different type of writing than I do now. I have lots of books about writing fiction. My two favorites are Christopher Vogler’s The Writer’s Journey: Mythical Structure for Writers and Jordan E. Rosenfeld’s Make A Scene: Crafting a Powerful Story One Scene at a Time.

  • The Keepers of Eire has recently been released in a YA format. What differences can readers expect from this new version?

I started writing my ‘Celtic Keeper’ fantasy series for adults because there didn’t seem to be a lot of good, new adult fantasy to read. I figured there were plenty of good YA fantasy books, and I was gobbling them up, so I concentrated on a story with adult content. At book fairs, The Keepers of Éire drew attention, but buyers wanted something their teenage children/grandchildren could read. So for the YA Edition, I removed the more blatant adult scenes (sex) and toned down some of the language. The story didn’t change, I didn’t adjust the age of the main characters, and I didn’t change the major theme of the novel.

  • Is there another genre that you enjoy- just as a pure fan? What is it?

I enjoy a variety of stories, though not horror. I particularly enjoy romantic suspense, a good mystery/thriller, and entertaining travel books that take me to distant lands.

  • Can you share one resource: website, marketing strategy, social media medium that you feel has most helped you and could help other writers on their way?

I believe writers should have a website where they can communicate with their audience. At the very least, you (the writer) should promote your achievements in writing—book releases, other publications, events, etc. If you are an expert, or have a passion for something, then share that knowledge with your audience. The more you share, the better chance of building an audience. And isn’t that what most writers want—to have their stories read and enjoyed?

  • What do you wish your readers could know about you?

Okay, most of my writer friends already know this, but readers don’t: I’m a plotter—I plot out the key scenes of my novels and keep track of my characters using character cards. Having an outline helps me stay focused on the story. That being said, I’m usually pleased with the outcome when a character takes over a scene and alters my outline—not by a lot, mind you. Also, because of ongoing medical issues with my arms, I write using voice recognition software, Dragon for Macs—how appropriate! Writing this way does take longer, especially since I use some Gaelic in my writing, and the software requires me to vocalize all the formatting and punctuation as I talk in the scene. Editing can be tedious.

  • Okay, BESIDES dragons, what fantastical creature would you like to write about and why?

I am also fascinated with the phoenix. Who wouldn’t want to be reborn from the ashes? In a sense, that’s exactly what I did after leaving my technical writing job and restructuring my life due to long-term medical issues with my arms. My rebirth as a writer brought me out of the ashes and onto the back of a dragon.

  • Denim versus leather- compare and contrast. It’s an argument that may never be settled. What’s your preference and why?

Denim for trousers and leather for a jacket. I love the feel and look of supple leather in a bomber jacket.

  • If you had to choose… Japan or Spain… where would you go? Why does your choice speak to you?

Spain, most definitely. With a surname of Bernal…let’s just say I have roots in the Basque region of Spain I’d enjoy exploring, as I have my Celtic heritage.

  • And lastly… what is your favorite reward after a long day of writing—that little treat you give yourself? 

I wouldn’t really call it rewarding myself, but…I enjoy losing myself in a good story.

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Author Bio:

When Jordan Bernal says she was born on the wrong planet, she’s referring to the third planet in the Sagittarian Sector, known as Pern. So clear and descriptive was Anne McCaffrey in her Dragonriders of Pern series, Jordan was transported into the body, mind and soul of Anne’s characters. Jordan came away knowing she was destined to be a dragonrider; to hop from one foot to the other on the hot sands of the hatching ground awaiting a dragon of her own. She fantasized about the air currents lifting the dragon she rode, soaring over cliffs and chasms, embracing the joy and freedom as together, they broke gravity’s harsh leash. And most of all, Jordan knew she was meant to create stories of a new set of dragons and dragonriders.

Jordan is the author of The Keepers of Éire, a dragon fantasy that encourages adult readers to let their imaginations take flight. Jordan’s enduring love of dragons and her pursuit of her Celtic heritage inspired her to write and publish her debut novel in her “Keeper” series through her independent press, Dragon Wing Publishing. The Keepers of Éire is the 2104 Global Ebook Gold Award Winner and the Bella Online Gold Award Winner. In 2017, Jordan released a YA edition of The Keepers of Éire.

Jordan lives in the Tri-Valley region of Northern California, and has been a member of the California Writers Club Tri-Valley Branch since 2010. She enjoys reading, traveling, photography, and spending time with Roarke, her Pomeranian. For more information on Jordan’s current projects, visit http://www.jordanbernal.com.

Buy Links:

The Keepers of Éire—YA Edition                                        The Keepers of Éire

By: Jordan Bernal                                                                             By: Jordan Bernal

Published by: Dragon Wing Publishing                          Published by: Dragon Wing Publishing

 

Retail Price for Print: $15.00                                                         Retail Price for Print: $17.00
Print ISBN: 978-0-9910134-2-5                                                  Print ISBN: 978-0-9910134-0-1
Retail Price for eBook: $5.99                                                        Retail Price for eBook: $7.99

eBook ISBN: 978-0-9910134-3-2                                                 eBook ISBN: 978-0-9910134-1-8
Both versions are available for sale at: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and most bookstores worldwide. Kindle ebooks also available.

This post was written by Erika Gardner. She’s a native Californian, lifelong lover of fantastical adventures, and a dedicated Whovian. If you enjoyed it, please sign up to receive updates on www.erikagardner.com   Or you can follow Erika on Twitter @Erika_Gardner, “Like” her Facebook page Erika Gardner- Writer and Storyteller.Or check out her contributions to the BBB Blog.

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This week’s song is No More Drama by Mary J. Bilge. Not metal, certainly, but an emotion laden, passionate song and I dig passion. Thankfully my day-to-day life contains little drama. As I’ve gotten older I find I have less and less time for it and for those individuals who flock to it—moths to its alluring but exhausting flame. There is too much I wish to do and too many people I’d love to spend my spare time with, time that I find more and more precious as the years slide by.

Years sliding by… that’s an excellent start to a central theme to this week’s post. Midlife crisis. When I was younger the words seemed a bit of a joke. Such a cliché, laden with images of men and women’s thickening middles and thinning hair. The specter of eyes losing their sparkle, and clothing just a bit out of step with the current trends. It brings echoes of ridiculous red sports cars and paramours far too young to be on the arm of their aging suitor… this dynamic applies equally to men and women these days. See, ladies, we’re breaking that glass ceiling bit by bit, even the gross parts.

I’m an optimist so I’m convinced I’m just hitting my midpoint, perhaps not even there yet. *big cheesy grin* This means I’m due to live to ninety-four, but hey, let’s go big, centurion style. You’re all invited to my 100th birthday party. Regardless, if I haven’t past the midpoint then I can see it. What’s more, the people around me can see it, too. A whole generation of crazy kids who can’t shake the feeling that somehow time has almost caught them. Though not old, there is a shared sense that we won’t be young forever.

Most of us are still attractive, we can catch someone’s eye. We feel good. In large part, we are healthy. Yet, looming in the back of our minds is an ugly thought: for how much longer? These are the years when a person needs to seriously take stock of their life. Are we ready for retirement? Have we chosen our friends wisely? Our careers? Our spouses? If there’s a dream to be fulfilled then are we truly chasing it? Or has it slipped beyond our grasp?

At the end of the day these all blend into the one big quandary… If in fact our days are finite then how do we want to spend the time allotted to us?

That’s where the song comes into play. (See how I circled back?) One of the decisions that has the biggest impact on anyone’s potential for happiness is who to spend that time with. For many that decision involves a partner, a spouse. I am both lucky and unlucky in that regard. I married an adorable, loving, hard-working man whom I’m crazy about. When we’re together it’s good, very good. Problem is, he is that hard-working guy and he takes his role as provider very seriously. Translation? He travels… a lot. So, that’s rough. I’m white-knuckling it until I can go with him or his circumstances change (ie retirement).

But I know I picked a good guy.

I’m watching very dear friends wrestle with their home situations. Some have already made the leap, while for others it’s only a matter of time. You can hear it in their voices, grieving for the death of a marriage they don’t even realize they’re leaving yet. In almost every single instance, I’m convinced it’s the right choice for both partners. The drama, the continual bad news, the sadness that permeates these households is not good. Not for the spouses, not for the kids, not even for the pets. Marriage is work. It is commitment. It is compromise and sacrifice. But not this much sacrifice. Not this much ugliness. Not you and your spouse bringing out the very worst in one another.  The road from point A to point B is long and will suck, but I hope it leads to happier times. And there’s that word again. Time.

Time is short and precious. Our days are numbered whether we recognize the fact or not. Make them good days. No more drama, no more pain. Sing it, Mary.

So you’re having a mid-life crisis? Good for you! I hope you are finding a way to make your life worthwhile, a road to happiness for yourself and for those near and dear to you.

Lyrics to No More Drama by Mary J. Blige

So tired, tired of these drama
No more, no more
I wanna be free
I’m so tired, so tired
Broken heart again
Another lesson learn
Better know your friends
Or else you will get burn
Gotta count on me
Cause I can guarantee
That I’ll be fine
No more pain (no more pain)
No more pain (no more pain)
No drama (no more drama in my life)
No one’s gonna make me hurt again
What a player fool
Go through ups and downs
Nowhere and all the time
You wouldn’t be around
Or maybe I like the stress
Cause I was young and restless
But there was long ago
I don’t wanna cry no more
No more pain (no more pain)
No more game (no more game messin with my mind)
No drama (no more drama in my life)
No one’s gonna make me hurt again
No more tears (no more tears, I’m tired of cryin’ every night)
No more
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This post was written by Erika Gardner. She’s a native Californian, lifelong lover of fantastical adventures, and a dedicated Whovian. If you enjoyed it, please sign up to receive updates on www.erikagardner.com   Or you can follow Erika on Twitter @Erika_Gardner, “Like” her Facebook page Erika Gardner- Writer and Storyteller.Or check out her contributions to the BBB Blog.

It’s been a while since I have posted, but then that’s Cross Country season. There is one song I’ve meant to put up for weeks. It’s called Scars to Your Beautiful by Alessia Cara. Everyone, man or woman, should listen to this song. Believe it. Live it.

She just wants to be beautiful
She goes unnoticed, she knows no limits
She craves attention, she praises an image
She prays to be sculpted by the sculptor
Oh, she don’t see the light that’s shining
Deeper than the eyes can find it
Maybe we have made her blind
So she tries to cover up her pain and cut her woes away
‘Cause cover girls don’t cry after their face is made

But there’s a hope that’s waiting for you in the dark
You should know you’re beautiful just the way you are
And you don’t have to change a thing, the world could change its heart
No scars to your beautiful, we’re stars and we’re beautiful
Oh-oh, oh-oh
And you don’t have to change a thing, yhe world could change its heart
No scars to your beautiful, we’re stars and we’re beautiful

She has dreams to be an envy, so she’s starving
You know, covergirls eat nothing
She says beauty is pain and there’s beauty in everything
What’s a little bit of hunger?
I could go a little while longer, she fades away
She don’t see her perfect, she don’t understand she’s worth it
Or that beauty goes deeper than the surface
Oh, oh
So to all the girls that’s hurting
Let me be your mirror, help you see a little bit clearer
The light that shines within

There’s a hope that’s waiting for you in the dark
You should know you’re beautiful just the way you are
And you don’t have to change a thing, the world could change its heart
No scars to your beautiful, we’re stars and we’re beautiful

Oh-oh, oh-oh
And you don’t have to change a thing, the world could change its heart
No scars to your beautiful, we’re stars and we’re beautiful

No better you than the you that you are (no better you than the you that you are)
No better life than the life we’re living (no better life than the life we’re living)
No better time for your shine, you’re a star (no better time for your shine, you’re a star)
Oh, you’re beautiful, oh, you’re beautiful

And there’s a hope that’s waiting for you in the dark
You should know you’re beautiful just the way you are
And you don’t have to change a thing, the world could change its heart
No scars to your beautiful, we’re stars and we’re beautiful
Oh-oh, oh-oh
And you don’t have to change a thing, the world could change its heart
No scars to your beautiful, we’re stars and we’re beautiful

Please enjoy this lovely and inspiring affirmation. Have a wonderful week! You. Are. Beautiful.

 

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This post was written by Erika Gardner. She’s a native Californian, lifelong lover of fantastical adventures, and a dedicated Whovian. If you enjoyed it, please sign up to receive updates on www.erikagardner.com   Or you can follow Erika on Twitter @Erika_Gardner, “Like” her Facebook page Erika Gardner- Writer and Storyteller.Or check out her contributions to the BBB Blog.

 

Sometimes my Musical Mondays have a commentary.  Other times, there’s a bit of pop culture or nostalgia.

Then there are the times when I just like the song.  Read it into it what ye’ may.

This is one of those weeks.

Hello, Arctic Monkeys!!!  Massive hugs your way!  Look what you did!  Better yet, listen.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bpOSxM0rNPM

Have you got color in your cheeks?
Do you ever get that fear that you can’t shift the tide that sticks around like summat in your teeth?
Are there some aces up your sleeve?
Have you no idea that you’re in deep?
I’ve dreamt about you nearly every night this week
How many secrets can you keep?
‘Cause there’s this tune I found that makes me think of you somehow and I play it on repeat
Until I fall asleep
Spilling drinks on my settee

(Do I wanna know?)
If this feeling flows both ways
(Sad to see you go)
I’ve started hoping that you’d stay
(Didn’t we both know)
That the nights were mainly made for saying things that you can’t say tomorrow day

Crawling back to you

Ever thought of calling when you’ve had a few?
‘Cause I always do
Maybe I’m too busy being yours to fall for somebody new
Now I’ve thought it through

Crawling back to you

So have you got the goods?
Been wondering if your heart’s still open and if so I wanna know what time it shuts
Simmer down and pucker up
I’m sorry to interrupt it’s just I’m constantly on the cusp of trying to kiss you
I don’t know if you feel the same as I do
We could be together if you wanted to

(Do I wanna know?)
If this feeling flows both ways
(Sad to see you go)
I’ve started hoping that you’d stay
(Didn’t we both know)
That the nights were mainly made for saying things that you can’t say tomorrow day

Crawling back to you (crawling back to you)

Ever thought of calling when you’ve had a few? (you’ve had a few)
‘Cause I always do (’cause I always do)
Maybe I’m too (maybe I’m too busy) busy being yours to fall for somebody new
Now I’ve thought it through

Crawling back to you

(Do I wanna know?)
If this feeling flows both ways
(Sad to see you go)
I’ve started hoping that you’d stay
(Didn’t we both know)
That the nights were mainly made for saying things that you can’t say tomorrow day

(Do I wanna know?)
Too busy being yours to fall
(Sad to see you go)
Ever thought of calling darlin’?
(Do I wanna know?)
Do you want me crawling back to you?

Arctic Monkeys

Arctic Monkeys

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