Change, like sunshine, can be a friend or a foe, a blessing or a curse, a dawn or a dusk.

~William Arthur Ward


Change is inevitable.  As a general rule I embrace it and find ways to navigate the new paradigm shift.  Most of the time, the changes are positive and just what I needed to shake me out of the complacency that comes with being too comfortable in where my life is at any given moment.

At least that is what I tried to remind myself when everything recently went to hell in a hand basket.  Have you ever faced a moment when everything you expected and counted on, everything you knew about yourself abruptly went out of focus?  It is frightening, isn’t it?

Losing a job isn’t the end of the world.  Far from it.  But losing a job after twenty years with the same company tilted my world on its axis.  Finding myself standing outside the doors holding a box containing personal items from my desk left me stunned and lost.  My brain literally shut down because I couldn’t process what had just happened.  It didn’t matter that I was just another victim of corporate downsizing or that it wasn’t anything personal.  It felt damn personal to me.

I’d like to say I handled it like a pro, but the truth of the matter is there really is a grieving process with any unexpected loss – including a job.  There were days when getting out of my pajama’s was too much effort and a lot of nights I slept on the couch because it helped mitigate the panic when I woke up each morning and realized I wasn’t going to work.  After twenty years of defining myself by my accomplishments and position within my former company I suddenly had to identify myself as unemployed.  It felt like failure.

To say I am blessed with family and friends is a gross understatement.  They helped me even when I found it hard to be comforted by their support and understanding.  They offered encouragement, laughter when I needed it most and a steady presence that made it possible for me to work my way through the dark hole I fell in to.

I still have a lot to figure out and finding another job is at the top of my list.  The creativity energy to write is slowly returning and that is a huge relief.  It was doubly scary to find words had deserted me and my characters were silent.

As a general rule I am an optimist and working my way through recent events has shown me I have more strength than I realized.  I will be okay.  Truly, who knows where life will take me next.  All I know is stepping boldly to greet whatever comes my way is much better than allowing past events to defeat me.

Change is what we make of it after all.

Christmas Fun, Frolics and Fundamentals

Today I have the pleasure of welcoming the lovely Daisy Banks to my blog.  She is sharing some of her memories of this wonderful time of the year.  Enjoy!

Thanks so much, Kylie, for inviting me onto the blog and especially at this busy time of year.

I love Christmas and always have. I recall it from my childhood as the one holiday season my small family was always tightly together. Grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, and my parents, all over these wonderful people were available in abundance, for games, stories and fun over the Christmas holiday. The rest of the year it wasn’t always so, and sometimes with work commitments I hardly saw my father at all as he worked shifts so he was sleeping while I was awake.

Christmas was a very special time and the fundamental memory of my childhood Christmas experiences is of the precious, quality time between family members. Memories that sing to me with the same rise and fall of the word I heard, they shine bright like the images in the Match-girl’s flames. Care, thoughtfulness and tenderness were shown in a distinct way both in action and in words. “Yow sit wi’ me, ma’ wench, an I’ll tell ya about that Snow White.”

Christmas in my childhood was also fun. The sense of expectation tangible in the air and I have to say until my teen years, Santa never disappointed. I must have been the most spoiled child in the street, along with my brother. Christmas morning was always fun, enough chocolate to double my body weight at least for a couple of hours. Games to experiment with and most wonderful always, books. From the time I could read, I did read and even though some of my family thought my passion for books a bit odd, they were kind enough to indulge it.

Frolics is my last thoughtful memory, and those relate to the years there was snow. One year I recall with great fondness as that year I made a snowman and my brother dug up the snow to form hills and hummocks in the garden. That was also the year my entire close family, about ten adults, played Monopoly. The game lasted through several evenings and led to much muttering, grumbling and downright growling snarliness. The strangest thing is, I can’t recall who actually won, only the fun we children had watching what went on.

Of course, we kids, we had our own frolics with all kinds of games and not one was on a computer screen. Staring at this screen now, I am wondering what memories my children have. What Christmas fun and frolics do they recall with a warm fondness? Can X box games have the same cache?

The Christmas fundamentals for my grown boys, are I hope the same, family, cherishing and love.

Wherever you are this Christmas, I hope you get to enjoy the company of those you love.


Daisy Banks

I am not using this post to advertise any of my books. You can find my books through the links below. I would much prefer you take a few moments to look at the links, to click one or two and decide to follow me on my blog, or on my face book page, or enjoy the pictures on my Pinterest page.



Twitter @DaisyBanks12



Author Bio

Romance author Daisy Banks writes sensual and spicy novels in the Historical, Paranormal and Fantasy genres. Daisy uses a fresh and lyrical voice to weave a compelling and magical spell for readers.


Daisy Banks

The Spirit of the Day

Small cheer and great welcome make a merry feast.

~William Shakespeare

Thanksgiving is just around the corner and  many families are making plans to get together.  They will endure long lines at airports or drive miles to spend the day with family just to gather around the dinner table and share a meal.  In some cases, a football game in the backyard or on the television will round out the day.

I’ll let you in on a secret if you promise not to hold it against me – Thanksgiving is lovely, but it isn’t my favorite holiday. I know sacrilegious, right?  Don’t get me wrong,  I enjoy the day.  I just don’t wax poetic over it or spend hours poring over cook books to find the perfect turkey recipe. I don’t even particularly like turkey and I am not much of a carnivore even on the best of days.  The gasp you hear in the background is my son.  He loves everything about Thanksgiving and always has.   🙂   But there you have it.

I do embrace the chance to get together with my fun and quirky family though.  A Norman Rockwell painting we aren’t, but there is always plenty of laughter, odd snippets of conversations to drop in and out of and a rhythm that comes from being – well – family.  Thanksgiving is a time to remind us of what is important and to appreciate all that things that have led us up to this point.  That part I like.  A lot.

Like many people, we have family scattered far and wide.  It is rare we can all be together, but that doesn’t mean those missing are not part of the day.  Memories are shared between those gathered, silly thing recounted and laughed over and no one is safe.  Phone calls are exchanged and beloved voices are heard while everyone is jockeying for their turn to say “Hi”.  It is all part of the traditions of the day with us.  I am sure you have those, too.

So, in the spirit of the day, I hope your Thanksgiving is filled with good food and laughter.  May you embrace those quirky family members and appreciate your friends.  If  you are travelling, may your journey be safe.

Happy Thanksgiving!   🙂



I Wouldn’t Have it Any Other Way

“Giving up is the only sure way to fail.” 
Gena Showalter

Perseverance. It’s an interesting word, don’t you think?

As writers we have few qualms about putting our characters in situations that require a great deal of it.  They need that dogged determination to overcome those black moments and obstacles that make a story compelling. Through dialogue and narrative readers get to share the journey, explore the resilience of our characters and do it all from the comfort of a favorite chair.

By and large, we writer’s tend to throw a lot at our characters.  We try to keep the tension and action tight-rope worthy and the stakes high from page one until the very end.  Why?  We want a good story. 🙂  It is a challenge to keep the plot, the characters and all the sub-text spinning in the world we create.  It is gratifying when we write the final chapter and know we have done our best to tie up all loose ends with our characters and our readers get to exit the story with the promise of a HEA.

But, let’s not forget the most important part of this.  Without a writer’s perseverance, that single-minded resolve that keeps us sitting at our computer day after day, none of this would happen.  What isn’t evident to most non-writers is the hours spent at a computer, the time carved out of our busy day with surgical precision to spend writing.

Being a writer is a demanding occupation, its damned hard work even on a good day. We give up family time, social/fun activities and, in many cases, sleep while we do our best to make a story come alive. We deal with the frustration of words that fail to adequately evoke the emotions we are doing our best to describe, the dreaded writers block that attacks out of nowhere, and story lines that fizzle for no apparent reason.

How many times have you wanted to throw up your hands and quit when confronted with yet another rewrite?  When you have written yourself into a corner and now have to figure out the best way to get back on track?  Me?  Countless times.  There have been instances where I will spend weeks avoiding my computer, convinced I will never write another word, but it is a losing battle – I always end up back in my chair and picking up where I left off.  It is a compulsion, a creative outlet and an absolutely exhilarating roller coaster ride with all the highs and lows.

I love it and sometimes hate it with equal passion, but I persevere.  It’s what I do.  I wouldn’t have it any other way. 🙂


A Different Path

“Each new day greets us with no rules except for the rules we place on it. Greet this new day with open arms and endless possibility.” 
~ Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free 

Do you ever feel like you are running as fast as you can, but no matter how hard you strive you still aren’t making headway? Between the day job, writing, taking care of the home and family, not to mention a very needy (but adorable) Marmalade kitty  there has been little time of late to even think.  Projects get started and then dropped because something with a higher priority gets in the way.  Before I know it I am gasping for breath and standing among the ruins of good intentions, missed opportunities and days that blur into one another.  You know you have a problem when you can’t remember what you did a week ago, never mind yesterday.

I stepped outside to leave for work and noticed a few leaves starting to change color on my maple tree. It was enough to stop me in my tracks. Not only that, but there was a crispness to the morning that hinted more of the approaching autumn than of summer. There was that slight tug-of-war between seasons in the air.  I was shocked.  Where had the time gone?  It was September already and I barely remembered there being a summer!

I could hear the white-water rapids of my usual day trying to drown out the moment of awareness and drag me ever onward.  The mental list of things I needed to get done clamored for attention.  Usually, I shrug and get in my car and drive to work, my mind firmly fixed on all that needs done.  Not this day. I took a mental step away and took a deep breath.  I recognized how much of life is passing me by and I am the perpetrator of this tragedy.

I didn’t rush to my car, but took the time to stroll and enjoy the brief journey. While driving to work I didn’t blast the radio or fret about deadlines and timelines.  I actually paid attention to the passing scenery on a route I have taken countless times.  There were other trees flirting with the colors of fall, some with only a leaf or two beginning to turn.  They were small splashes of color in an otherwise green expanse.  As the road twisted and turned I noticed the morning mist hovering over the wetlands and twining through the trees with ghostly fingers.  The sun was a pale orb brightening the sky as the pale blue of morning bled into the darker hues of a cloudless day.

Instead of arriving at work already feeling the stress in my neck and shoulders I enjoyed the trek across the parking lot and the varied colors of cars against the dark asphalt.  It was a wonder to get to my desk and realize I had enjoyed the time I spent getting to work.

I won’t lie and say my day was anything less than hectic, but I rode those white-water rapids with far more humor and patience than I usually do and didn’t arrive home with a stress headache.  There is much to be said for stopping to smell the roses on occasion.

Vacation – Woot!

Vacation used to be a luxury, but in today’s world it has become a necessity.

~Author Unknown

Vacation.  What a lovely word.  It immediately brings to mind sandy beaches, island breezes and relaxation, doesn’t it? Did you hear the big sigh from me?  That is the kind of vacation I would like, but my reality will never make the pages of a travel magazine.

Don’t get me wrong – I am excited to have a week off and the chance to visit my oldest daughter and her family.  I haven’t seen them in…well, forever.  There is a lot to catch up on and grandkids to spoil 🙂  But, let me share what is leading up to boarding a flight out of here and flying across country in two days time.

Let’s start with the day job that graciously allows its employees to have some time away to relax and renew (do you hear the sarcasm here?)  I have a things-that-have-to-be-accomplished-before-I-leave list.  On it are tasks that are job critical and must have all the loose ends tied up before I can escape – um- leave.

Ha!  My day started out bad and disintegrated from there.  Let’s not mention the disagreement with my boss before I even had a cup of coffee, or the disaster everything I touched turned into kind of day.  So much for quickly tying up loose ends.  My things-that-have-to-be-accomplished-before-I-leave list has now turned into a crap-I will-never-get-this-done-in-time sort of list.  With some reprioritizing I might be able to get the most critical of the critical things done.  Yay, me.

Let’s move on to packing.  Sorting through clothes to take is not fun.  That cute shirt I bought at the beginning of summer is a little snug.  It’s too late to regret the stress eating that caused the – ahem- slight weight gain and my much more limited clothing choices.  No problem, I will just have to manage with what I have.  It’s a vacation after all, right?

Writing.  Somewhere in all the chaos that has become my life just lately I have barely had time to keep up with email, never mind work on my WIP.  Double crap.  The 500 words a day I was aiming for is now 1,500 words behind and gaining fast.  Maybe I can sneak some writing time in on my long flight.  Yes, that is the Universe you hear hysterically laughing at me in the background.

Oh, let’s not forget the conversation with my daughter who is taking care of the house while I am away.  It went something like this:

  • Yes, wonderful child-of-mine the flowers need to be watered every day without exception.
  • Don’t touch the paperwork on my table.  I know where everything is and your habit of stuffing things in corner cabinets is not okay.
  • The cat will be unhappy if you do not pet him when he demands it and have his food bowl full at all times.
  •  No, I don’t think my neglected knitting basket would look better hidden behind that big chair.
  • Do not leave my kitchen in a mess.  Clean up after yourself or I will have to hurt you when I get home.  Stop laughing, I’m trying to be serious here….

Luckily for me I don’t have to drive to the airport.  I will have a few blissful moments where I know I have done all that I could before leaving and can now relax and leave the driving in her capable hands.

I’ll worry about getting through the airport when I get there.  After all, I’m on vacation. 🙂

Tea for Two or Three…

Under certain circumstances there are few hours in life

 more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony

 known as afternoon tea.

~Henry James

I bet you are wondering what a post about teatime has to do with writing.  The short answer is absolutely nothing.  The more in-depth answer: my sister, Lisa, gave a speech for one of her college classes.  Since it was close to Mother’s Day and it made her think of our mother, she decided to speak about one of our family traditions that is near and dear to all our hearts.  Tea.  I liked it.  So I am sharing it with all of you.  Enjoy 🙂 …

In our family drinking tea is a thread that binds us.  No matter what stage in life we are in, what our mood, or how different we have become, tea brings us together. We dress up for it, we calm down over it, we feel better when we drink it, and we love it.

I am the youngest of three daughters, born to a British mother who believes that there is nothing in the world that can’t be cured with a good cup of tea. If two or more of us gather we have tea.  No one ever has to say put the kettle on. We just know and do it. It is always the same.

The moment the tea goes in the pot and the hot water is poured in we begin to talk.  While the tea “mashes”, we discuss our lives or whatever crisis we are coping with at the moment.  We deal with the bad and laugh over the good.  Catch up on the angst of everyday or just enjoy the pleasure of being together.

Occasionally, we have mini family reunions that involve getting dressed up and wearing our fancy hats and going “out to tea”.  It is our chance to indulge in the ceremony that is deeply rooted in our family.  It reminds us of where we came from and the traditions passed down through the generations. When we put on our dresses and our tea hats it feels like a different time and a different place.  The everyday is gone and we are left with the moment.

I’ve had many friends over the years who when faced with heartbreak will eat chocolate or have a drink.  For me it is tea.  Throughout our lives we have faced many ups and downs.  Like any family we have had marriages, children and grandchildren, deaths and divorces.  In every instance, we as a family have had a cup of tea to fall back on, whether it was to share our joys, our sorrows, or to bring up our moods.

No matter how many family members there are we all know exactly how the others take their tea.  My mother, for instance, has always enjoyed her tea strong and black. No one would dare add milk or sugar to hers. When faced with her frown the strongest of us have been known to cringe.  At the very least you could expect to be on the receiving end of a rather strong lecture on the art of taking tea from an 81 year old woman with a colorful vocabulary and the sound of a fading English accent. Knowing how someone likes their tea is almost as important as knowing how someone likes their family. I hope this is a family trait that goes on for as long as our bloodline continues.