January Newsletter: Living Your Best Life

Happy New Year. Hope it’s starting off great for you. This year is going to be a big one for me. An important birthday. Fun trips. Changing to a healthier lifestyle (have to make that a priority). And my books! Therefore, most of my post will center around those themes. However, this month’s feature will be about how to live your best life. My beauty product of the month and a snippet from my upcoming novel.

Feature

We can’t control what others do to enhance our life but one of the keys I’ve discovered is that we do have the ability to define our circumstances and write our own narratives. Here are my tips to fight outside influences blocking your blessings.

  1. Bring your best self in all that you do. Even when the situation is challenging. There are many times that stressful situations bring out your worst and if you are constantly in those situations then that’s all others know of you. Be you regardless of what negativity others bring your way.
  2. Define what’s important to you. Recently a post on my Instagram of me my boyfriend (ugh, I feel so high school writing that) garnered the most Likes ever for me. I post about traveling, when I’m feeling especially cute, friends, family and my books. None of those pictures got that level of reaction than with a man beside me. While I appreciated the support, it doesn’t devalue all my other parts in life. I decide that.
  3. Reflect on what you accomplish or love in life (big and small). Especially when you feel down. Determine if there are highs in life you can revisit more often to achieve greater happiness. This could be just reading good books to traveling more.
  4. Plan. Write out what you want to accomplish in the next several months. Then when that time passes determine if you reached those goals and what didn’t go as planned and why. Modify from there so you don’t circle the drain or get discourage.
  5. Look at negative situations as opportunities and work out a plan to make the best of it. There are times in life that I think ‘this sucks but it’ll be an inspiring story for me to share with a mentee or niece that might help them’.
  6. Bonus: Make self care a priority even if it means seeking help.

Beauty Product of the Month

Loving this Je Ne Sais Quoi lipstick from It Cosmetics. Hydrates my lips like a Chapstick or balm but also gives it color for a natural look. As a I get older, I opt for less makeup and more skincare as heavy makeup can age you. Therefore, this lipstick is perfect.

Snippet from novel: Mystic Bonds: A Paranormal World Novel

Prologue

“That was the worst town visit we’ve ever had,” Charles grumbled as he drove our gray SUV down the two-way street at a snail’s pace, avoiding the rusted cars abandoned haphazardly on both sides of the road.

“It wasn’t that bad,” I replied, leaning my head on the passenger side window.

“They were little a**holes. Reminded me of why I hated school so much.”

I chuckled. “You were a nerd back then, I can understand that.”

“Shut it.”

I laughed even harder. “Kids, they were just kids.”

“I’ve never seen that. It’s kind of sad.”

Years of doing bartering in different towns, and this was the first time we’d encountered a village of only children. Well, they weren’t all kids. The eldest were perhaps very early twenties. Just barely what used to be the drinking age of twenty-one. And apparently, people of that age would be kicked out of the town once they turned twenty-two. Ever since the world became a magical nightmare, us survivors were pretty low on trust. It was no surprise that a pool of children, a little under one hundred of them, had decided to come together and form their own, more civilized Lord of the Flies. It was odd but they seemed to have structure of some sort.

“They seemed very mature,” I said.

“One of them called me a sh**head.”

“Yeah, but you did call him a little f**ker.”

Charles cut his eyes at me quickly before looking back at the road. “He threatened to turn my head into an actual pile of feces. I mean, could he have really done that?”

I shrugged, still laughing. “He was a wizard so…anything’s possible.”

Charles shivered. “Like I said, that was a town of a**holes.”

“Who had a lot to barter with us, so stop complaining.”

“Well, someone else can go next—” Charles suddenly stopped talking.

I turned to Charles. “What’s-”

I didn’t have to ask him what was wrong. It was suddenly very clear. To the left of us, a group of ten to fifteen people were scattered about an open field, seemingly running in terror.

They were running from something.

A monster that charged at them from farther down the field.

It was the stuff of nightmares. I’d honestly never seen anything like it. Not on TV and definitely not in real life.

It was over twenty feet tall. Normal sized, it could have been a dog.

A freaking dog.

It was covered in long, dark-brown, matted fur with a short bushy tail. I’m no dog expert so I couldn’t determine the breed. Maybe a Rottweiler. It had sharp, slobbery teeth and bright, red eyes.

And it roared.

The sound was loud and monstrous. I didn’t have much experience with roars so the closest I could compare it to was a bear. Definitely not a dog. The ground shook with the sound.

Some of the people running shot at the monster dog with rifles. No magic was used. They were regular humans. They didn’t stand a chance. The bullets seemed to only annoy the dog rather than injure it.

I looked back to monster dog and saw it shaking its huge head, the kicking legs of some poor man hanging out of its enormous, bloody mouth. It widened its jaw again and gulped the man whole. It didn’t take time to chew before it moved forward and chomped on its next victim.

I was no hero. I loved scary movies but there was a limit to my fear level. I didn’t like spiders and I’d run screaming, butt-naked out of the house to escape a cockroach or a snake. Yet, something moved me to help. I just thought I could do something.

I thought I could stop it all.

“Stop the car,” I shouted.

“Hell no!” Charles yelled.

“We need to help them! They aren’t paranormals. They’ll all die.”

“Amina…”

“Our parents didn’t raise us to be jerks. Let’s help them.”

“Sh*t,” Charles murmured as he slowed the car down and pulled off to the right side of the road. “That thing is going to stomp on this car and then we’re going to be dead.”

“Stay here,” I stated, getting out of the car.

“Yeah, right,” I heard him say as he opened his driver side door.

I jogged across the street and stopped at the edge of the field.

“What are you going to do?” Charles asked, beside me now.

“Something,” I replied. I really didn’t know. After all this time, my magic was still confusing to me. I mostly learned about what I could do through trial and error. That and just plain winging it. I would wing it now.

I reached out my hands, to do what I couldn’t tell you. But I was at least fifty feet away. I wasn’t thinking; just desperate  to stop this monster from eating any more people.

I screamed. “Stop! Please!”

A sharp, head-splitting pain ripped through my brain causing me to lose balance. I had to steady myself with outstretched arms. The front of my skull felt like it was breaking and my vision blurred momentarily. My knees grew weak and I stumbled a bit. Charles caught me before I hit the ground and steadied me.

The disorientation felt like it lasted for minutes but logically I knew it was less time. Pain always came when I used magic at that level and although I knew it was coming, it never failed to knock me back.

The monster stopped just inches away from an older, white woman who had fallen on the ground.  Nightmare dog turned its head, which was the size of a monster truck, towards me.

“Sit!” I shouted. It was actually more of a question but I said it with force so that counted for something.

And the dog sat! However, the head-splitting pain also returned. A wave of nausea came as well but it was not long lasting.

Having this momentary diversion, the woman got up and ran to a man nearby who was aiming a rifle at monster dog. The monster didn’t move its attention or cloudy gaze away from me.

 “What are you going to do now?” Charles asked.

“Going to send it back to hell where it came from.”

How I planned to do that, I actually didn’t know but I decided to think logically. It listened to me when I told it to stop and when I said for it to sit so… “Die.”

A barrage of pain attacked my whole body, like every nerve was set on fire. I keeled over and cried out.

Fido tilted to the side and then toppled all the way to the ground with a ground-shaking thud. Its eyes stayed open but were now glazed over, black tongue hanging out of its mouth and legs stiff.

He looked dead to me.

The pain vanished as quickly as it had come.

I almost fainted from the shock of it all.

It was a pretty uneventful battle.

“Is it? Is it dead?” called a man off to our left.

“Yes!” I shouted back.

“What are you?” asked the woman I’d saved from being dinner.

“I’m a witch.”

“You’re very strong,” said the man beside her, his eyes wide.

I shrugged modestly. “I’m okay.”

“You controlled it just with your voice. That’s more than okay,” said a black woman. She squinted her eyes and walked towards us with cautious steps.

“She’s a rockstar,” Charles boasted.

“We could use power like yours,” said the man on our left, walking forward.

“We’re already part of a village but if you need our help, we’d be happy to—” I started

“Barter,” Charles cut in. “You can’t be doing all these unpaid services, sis,” he whispered, placing a hand on my shoulder.

“We don’t need to trade,” said the black woman. “We just need your blood.”

“Say what—” Charles didn’t finish his sentence. I heard a gun shot from behind us. Charles arched his back and dropped to his knees.

I spun around, my hands out to attack. A bullet hit me in my shoulder. I felt a sharp blast of pain spread through me and I stumbled forward but lost my balance, falling to the ground. My vision clouded and I saw several boots walk towards me before darkness washed over me….

Thanks for reading. Next month I offer Chapter one (and hopefully a cover reveal), A book review from one of my favorite urban fantasy writers and a recap of my trip to Montreal!

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