Monday, June 6, 2016

Author's Life: Coming Out of Hiding #MenieresDisease "Life in a Fog"

It's been a long time since I've blogged. I guess you could say I've been in hiding. For a long time I suffered with vertigo and migraines. They began over twelve years ago and I accepted that doctors had found medication to keep the vertigo at bay. Life went on... years went by...

Then the vertigo came back despite the medication. During that same period, my family noticed my hearing was not as sharp as it had always been. That observation ended up being a turning point when a standard hearing test led to the beginnings of a diagnosis. In the summer of 2014, two doctors -because of course I insisted on a second opinion - confirmed that I have Meniere's disease.
What's Meniere's disease?
It is a disorder of the inner ear that causes episodes in which you feel as if you're spinning (vertigo), and you have fluctuating hearing loss with a progressive, ultimately permanent loss of hearing, ringing in the ear (tinnitus), and sometimes a feeling of fullness or pressure in your ear. In most cases, the disease affects only one ear. It's considered a chronic condition, but various treatments can help relieve symptoms and minimize the long-term impact on your life. (Mayo Clinic)
Treatment is a slow trial of proven methods. Since different treatments work for different patients, the process is very much trial-and-error. So far, nothing has alleviated the symptoms a considerable amount but we're still trying. Each day is an unknown... will I be able to function normally, will I have background vertigo and tinnitus to work through, or will I have a vertigo episode that keeps me in bed.

The structured control freak in me finds the unknown most challenging. Plans become irrelevant and appointments impossible, never knowing if I'll feel up to a social event or even an outing. I've long since given up committing to deadlines and due dates. With a chronic illness, patients have to become accustomed to the unknown and this is a lesson I've learned through frustration.

For a long time now, I've hidden away and shared my diagnosis with very few people - mostly close family. There's this inner fear of pity or, just the opposite, ignorance. The perfectionist in me even sees this as a failure. Though chronic illness by its very definition is incurable and debilitating, people still believe you can eliminate the symptoms. That's not true. So I'm learning to live day-by-day in this new reality and create within it's parameters a life worth living... despite living a life in a fog.

My writing has declined to almost nothing but I'm determined to begin again. With so many untold stories floating in my head, I can't allow them to go untold so I'm actively working again as often as possible. For those of you who have followed my series, you can expect book two in the Home series and book three in the Heart and Soul series next. I'm also back to work on my serial under my new pen name, Becca Layne. No promises on the time frame but I can promise they'll all be completed.

I'll be documenting my journey here on my blog, hoping to bring awareness to Meniere's Disease. I am no longer letting this defeat me. This is a first step in regaining some control. Watch for more "Life in a Fog" posts to be published monthly.

Friday, February 12, 2016

HAVE YOU READ BodyGuards of LA County Series @CateBeauman?

Welcome Cate Beauman back to Romance Beckons.
International bestselling author Cate Beauman is known for her full-length, action-packed romantic suspense series, The Bodyguards of L.A. County. Her novels have been nominated for the National Excellence in Romance Fiction Award, National Indie Excellence Award, Golden Quill Award, Writers Touch Award, and have been named Readers Favorite Five Star books. In 2015, JUSTICE FOR ABBY was selected as the Readers' Favorite International Book Award Gold Medalist, while SAVING SOPHIE took the Silver Medal. SAVING SOPHIE was also selected as the 2015 Readers Crown Award winner for Romantic Suspense and FALLING FOR SARAH received the silver medal for the 2014 Readers' Favorite Awards.

Ethan Cooke Security and their bodyguard team return to action in Finding Lyla – book ten in Cate Beauman’s Bodyguards of L.A. County series.
New to the series? No problem! Each book in the “Bodyguards” series is a stand-alone title. Although reading the books in order is preferred, it is not necessary.  Each title features brand new primary characters and limited overlapping secondary characters.  Don’t hesitate to jump right in!


Principal Dancer Lyla Markovik-Avery is always on the go. Grueling practices and endless performances rule her busy days—and things are about to get more hectic. Russia is rolling out the red carpet for their beloved star, despite the string of violent terrorist attacks that have rocked the nation.

Bodyguard Collin Michaels’ life is falling apart. His long-time relationship recently ended. He’s trying to start over, but that’s easier said than done. Luckily, Collin has a new assignment on the horizon: keeping a beautiful ballerina safe for the next three weeks.

Collin finds comfort in Lyla’s easy friendship, but that all changes after a night out on the town. Simple feelings become complicated—something Collin can’t afford, especially when tragedy strikes and Collin realizes Lyla’s caught in the middle of a dangerous plot for revenge.

Collin and Lyla are forced to flee. They need to reach the border before it’s too late, but the odds are stacked against them in a country that wants them dead. With time running out, Collin formulates a risky plan that might be their only chance of making it out alive.
Buy It Now! 
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Collin settled beneath the covers on his temporary bed as the dim glow of city lights radiated through the windows. He reached out, grabbing the remote off the coffee table he’d pushed off to the side, and flipped through several channels, stopping on SportsCenter. Scores and updates ticked by on the bottom of the screen, and he moved on, not all that interested in hockey stats.

He stopped again when the live footage from Saint Petersburg, Russia caught his attention. With the volume on mute, he searched for the closed caption button and sat up, reading the news report while the station switched back and forth between the newscaster and images of the police surrounding a trolleybus in the middle of a downtown street. The reporter spoke of a bomb discovered during the busy morning rush hour, mere miles from the plaza where dozens had been killed on New Year’s Eve. Luckily a citizen had been paying attention, and the explosive device had been deactivated, stopping another disaster.

Early reports were suggesting that the same rebel group responsible for the December thirty-first bombing, Chechen Freedom, had attempted to strike again. The news segment switched to snippets of the video released weeks ago, shortly after the slaughter of innocent civilians, where the masked men promised more violence in retaliation for The Federation killing one of their leaders. The man pointed at the camera, vowing to continue with his plans to destroy Russia until the regime relented and gave the Chechens back their country.

Sighing, Collin rubbed at his jaw. Why did he feel like he was walking into a losing situation? Everyday there was something new going on over there. If it wasn’t bomb threats and anti-American rallies, it was anti-Putin demonstrations outside the Kremlin walls, which often ended with tear gas and riot gear. And he and Lyla were only hours away from their late-afternoon flight.

The issues in Saint Petersburg weren’t necessarily one of his concerns. The city was a good nine hours away from their destination. It was the possibility of terrorist attacks in Moscow and Russia’s discord with the United States in general that had him on edge. The fact that Lyla was a dual citizen of two countries at odds had the potential to work for her…or very much against her. Only time would tell which way things were going to go, and they would be along for the ride while they waited to figure it out.

Did you enjoy the excerpt?  You can read the first chapter on my website,, or you can finish the whole book with the links below!

The Unofficial Finding Lyla Soundtrack
Music plays a HUGE part in my writing process. I typically listen to Pandora or YouTube while I create my stories and compile a collection of songs that I feel represent my characters or the situations they face as each novel unfolds. It’s a rare occasion that my creativity demands silence (And that’s a good thing. I’m a mother of two boys. Quiet doesn’t exist in my house.). I thought it would be fun to create a list of songs that ‘spoke’ to me while I wrote the Bodyguards of L.A. County series. You can listen to the “soundtrack” for each book on my website

The soundtrack, of sorts, for Finding Lyla:
·         Today by Steve Moakler
·         Beautiful Things by Gungor
·         Teneferie Sea by Ed Sheeran
·         Shut Up and Dance by Walk The Moon
·         Anywhere but Here by Safety Suit
·         Never Gonna Be Alone by Nickelback
·         Nirvana by Sam Smith
·         Don’t Deserve You by Plumb 
·         Unconditionally by Katy Perry
·         You’re in Love by Taylor Swift
·         Fight Song by Rachel Platton

Monday, February 8, 2016

#WWoW! PERK IT UP Author's Craft: USE CONTRACTIONS #AmEditing

Monthly Tips for Tightening Your Manuscript
Writers rarely put out their best copy on the first draft. First drafts serve the primary purpose of putting your ideas to page. So before you even consider handing the manuscript off to an editor, do your own proofreading. Create a cleaner second draft to bring to an editor. Here are some tips how to do that...

February's Tip of the Month 
USE Contractions.

Rather than saying the man does not hesitate to touch her, say he doesn't hesitate to touch her.
Rather than writing the woman is going to the pharmacy that is nearby, say she's going to the pharmacy that’s nearby.

Use contractions to create a more personable story.

HINT: Contractions make your writing sound friendlier, like your characters are real people, which creates a connection with readers. Don't miss this easily done basic.

Perk It Up specializes in romantic fiction. Give your manuscript a polished look. Perk It Up provides beta reading, proofreading, review and editing services.
CONTACT US for information about our services.
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