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Reading for Stress Management

April is Stress Awareness Month. You probably already know if you are stressed out, but do you know how stress affects physical and mental health? Here are some interesting facts from the 2015 Stress in America survey conducted by the American Psychological Association:

The top three sources of stress for adults, in order, are money, work and family responsibilities.

More than one-third of adults reported an increase in stress and 78% of adults report experiencing at least one symptom of stress.

Symptoms of stress include: feeling nervous/anxious, feeling depressed/sad, constant worrying, irritability/anger, poor eating habits, changes in sleeping patterns, upset stomach, dry mouth, headaches, muscle tension, chest pains, fatigue, inability to concentrate, forgetfulness, jitters, increased frequency of colds.

 

Left unmanaged, stress can result in chronic, long-term health problems. Experts recommend a variety of strategies for managing stress, including exercise, deep breathing, medication, eating well, engaging in hobbies, spending time with friends/family, getting enough sleep and balancing life.

Reading is another effective strategy for managing stress. University of Sussex researchers reported six minutes of reading to be more effective than listening to music or going for a walk, reducing stress by as much as 68%.

The next time you are feeling stressed, reach for a book.

What are your other favorite stress management strategies?

 

 

I'm in control...or do I just tell myself that?

0e82b11Today is I’m in Control Day. This is one of those amusing, made-up “holidays” like National PB & Jelly Day (April 2) or Blah, Blah Blah Day (April 17). The idea of “control” struck me as a timely blog topic, since I struggle with this concept when it comes to my writing career. Is control reality or myth? Let’s see…

Yes, I am in control

As an author, I control many factors: what I write, release dates, marketing strategies, price point, distribution, cover art, social media content, newsletter outreach and participation at reader/author events. I also have complete creative control.

No, I am not in control

When I sit at my desk and make decisions about my books and publishing career, it feels like I’m in control. I ponder and plan, carefully considering each factor for maximum success.

And then I release my book and realize I have zero control.

I cannot control who buys my books, what reviewers say about my books or if my books will be bestsellers. It’s daunting to realize how much control other people have when it comes to my books–readers, reviewers, bloggers, advertisers and booksellers.

It’s really a collaboration

Absolute control is never a good thing. Relationship experts encourage people to learn how to compromise so that everyone walks away from a negotiation with something that matters to them. I think collaboration might be a better approach than struggling to control everything.

If I collaborate with my publishing partners (readers, reviewers, bloggers, advertisers, booksellers, editors, agents, other authors), then we all stand to benefit. My publishing career will grow and expand. Readers will enjoy well-crafted romantic suspense stories. Reviewers can write honest, positive reviews. Advertisers can trust they are promoting a quality product.

The only bad part about this? I’m going to need a new mug for my Starbucks passion/green tea.

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Five Fascinating Facts about Regency-era Weddings

AWC_1400x2100One of the reasons many readers enjoy historical fiction is that it provides a glimpse into the lives, relationships and traditions of different countries and eras. Weddings and marriage are, by far, one of the most fascinating topics to research.

Here are five interesting facts I discovered about weddings and matrimony during the Regency era while writing my upcoming release, A Wedding Code (The Code Breakers series book 5, releasing April 25, 2017).

For many centuries, marriage was not based on love, but as a strategic alliance between families for monetary, social or political gain. Marriages were often arranged when the bride and groom were still children.

Although the popularity of love matches began gaining popularity in 18th and 19th century England, demonstrating passion for one’s spouse was considered déclassé.

Almack’s, a London social club, became one of the most prominent “marriage marts” of Regency England. Debutantes, who once sought to be presented at the King’s court, vied for vouchers from Almack’s patronesses so they could be presented there instead.

Regency brides did not commission gowns exclusively for their wedding. Most gowns were re-worn. Although any color or pattern was acceptable, blue, white, silver and light-colored hues were most popular. Instead, many brides cherished their wedding shoes as treasured keepsakes.

 

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Brides were given a wedding ring during the wedding ceremony, but men did not wear wedding rings.

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What is your favorite contemporary or Regency-era wedding tradition?

An Inner Fire now on audio

Fans of contemporary romantic suspense can now enjoy An Inner Fire, book 1 in the Grayce Walters series, on audio. Em Eldridge gives voice to the Grayce, an intuitive animal acupuncturists and reluctant amateur sleuth from Seattle.

Enjoy the trailer for this new audiobook release.

Available on Audible, iTunes and Amazon.

Grayce Walters, animal acupuncturist, harbors a secret. She hides her intuitive gifts from the world until she becomes embroiled in arson on Seattle’s waterfront. As a key crime witness, Grayce must convince the attractive, logical, by-the-numbers fire investigator, Ewan Davis, that the fire she witnessed is part of a larger criminal conspiracy. Grayce embarks upon a mission to gather proof of the dangerous threat. She enlists the help of her cross-dressing best friend, her street-wise assistant, and Davis’ poodle, to conduct her own investigation. As her feelings for Davis shift between white hot passion and cold fear, Grayce must risk exposing her secrets to safe Davis’ life. Davis must accept things, he can neither see, nor understand to solve the mystery and finally find the love he has stopped believing in. With nudges from the protective poodle, Grayce and Davis confront shocking betrayal and international crime on the rain soaked streets of Seattle.

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Women Sleuth Mysteries Giveaway

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Have you read my novel, An Inner Fire? For a limited time, you can enter to win the book plus more than 45 fantastic Women Sleuth Mysteries from an amazing collection of authors, PLUS A KINDLE FIRE!

Enter the contest by clicking here: bit.ly/women-sleuth-myst

Be sure to check out the books from these award-winning and bestselling mystery authors.

Alana Albertson
Angie Fox
Ann Charles
Barbra Annino
Christine Kling
CJ Lyons
Connie Shelton
Dale Mayer
Danielle Lenee Davis
Deborah Brown
Dee Ernst
Denise Grover Swank
Dianne Harman
Emily Kimelman
Fiona Davis
Heather Sunseri
Jacki Delecki
Joanne Pence
John Sullins
Josie Brown
Joy Ohagwu
K.J. Emrick
Karen McCullough
Kathi Daley
Kelle Z Riley
Kelly Miller
Kristi Belcamino
Libby Fischer Hellmann
Linda Fulkerson
Lindsay Emory
Lynn Emery
M. Louisa Locke
Maggi Andersen
Mara Jacobs
Marcy McKay
Melissa Storm
P.B. Ryan
Paisley Ray
Pamela Fagan Hutchins
Patricia Rice
Sara Rosett
Seeley James
Sibella Giorello
Suzanne Jenkins
T.K. Wilde
Toby Neal
Vered Ehsani
Vicki Hinze

 

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