First Fridays With The Crew - What's Your Motto?

February is the month when Australians shake the sand of the long summer holidays from our feet and prepare to get our noses back to the grindstone. I always view February as the time I really start testing my New Year Resolutions, which are usually a combination of writing up a storm, getting my unfit self into better shape, and taking on an extra challenge - not too easy, but something that is not unreachable either. I also like to adopt a motto for the year ahead, so this year, I decided to challenge the other crew to articulate and share a motto for themselves for 2017!

Fortune Favours the Brave

The attribute I admire in people more than any other is courage - to be themselves, to take a chance, to stand up for their beliefs even if those beliefs aren't popular, to live the life they want instead of the one they're told they should want. The only regrets I have in my life are the times I let fear hold me back from doing something - usually fear of making a fool of myself, or fear of failure, or fear of rocking a boat or two.

Well, in 2017, I'm saying goodbye to regrets and hello to bravery in all aspects of my life. In my writing, I'm going to lay all the emotions out - no holding back; I'm going to dare myself by writing more complex stories and push the character envelope. In a way, I've already started treading this road with my current book - just out this past week. The heroine has lived a safely unadventurous life in Boston, but when she meets a beautiful Arab Muslim in the Arabian desert and he follows her home, she has to make a decision: whether to stay safe, or take a leap into a life different from anything she could have ever imagined.


Be Grateful--Count your Blessings

This year I am trying to step back each day and find what I'm grateful for. If are you interested in starting to document what you are grateful for, use #Grateful365 on any of your social media.

I'm documenting my gratitudes on my Facebook Page. Stop over and check them out. Sometimes they are silly, sometimes they are serious. But taking the time to document why I am thankful gives me a moment to slow down and realize how blessed I am.

What you Think you Become

I am the queen of self-put downs. I am also the queen of lazy thinking! Oftentimes I can expend as much energy finding someone to solve my problems as I would simply learning to solve them myself. Whether it's "I don't know how to fix my Website," or "Nobody would want to read this drivel--it's time to retire," on any given day I am more than capable of living--as our 100% Scandinavian family likes to joke--like an undeserving Norwegian.

The problem is--those statements, over time, are no longer jokes. They take on lives of their own and become self truths. I often feel unequal to my peers and believe I'm not smart enough to be who and what I want to be. So--this year my goal is to end the negative thinking and be positive about me! I am embarking on a self-publishing journey, so I can't think of anything I need more than to be confident I CAN do it! That's already a theme in all my books--like my most recent "The Bride Wore Starlight," and my soon-to-be-released "Betting on Paradise" (watch for cover reveals soon!) It's time for me to think and become smart and successful!


Courage moves ahead in the face of fear

One of the qualities I have always valued is courage. It's right up there with honesty and loyalty. The truly great among us are not always the fearless. They just appear that way. In fact, they may have harbored great fear, but that did not stop them. 

Most of my characters, too, have feared one thing or another: battle, loss, even love. Of course, that's what makes romance worth reading... a good story with some history added to make it authentic and a bold warrior, spy or ship captain who faces the odds against him and triumphs to find love.

Ah, yes. Courage. Winston Churchill, one of my heroes, once said, “Courage is rightly esteemed the first of human qualities... because it is the quality which guarantees all others.”


Mark Twain wrote, “Life is short. Break the rules.” 
That's my motto for this year. 

Here is his complete quote, which is even better: Life is short, break the rules, forgive quickly, kiss slowly, love truly, laugh uncontrollably, and never regret anything that made you smile. Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

I want the next decade of my life (which starts March 29) to be filled with adventure. I'm ready and willing to break out of old molds--especially the ones that have held me back from realizing my dreams--all the while, never forgetting to relish the very best things in life: slow kisses and uncontrollable laughter and forgiveness and true love, all of which go hand-in-hand. 

This theme of breaking rules and finding your life's greatest adventure is reflected in what will be my first Contemporary Romance, Maybe Baby. In this story, both characters must break more than a few rules--mostly those they impose on themselves--in order to find happiness. 

I hope you'll break a few rules this year and throw off whatever is holding you back from life's greatest adventure.

Actions speak louder than words

I've always told my girls that instead of standing around talking about doing something, why not actually do something?  Any action you take is always valued more than the words that are spoken.

Don't stand on the sidelines this year. Jump in, take action and make things happen!

What is your legacy

It doesn’t take much to get one thinking about the future when you’re facing a milestone birthday—especially if you can’t seem to remember where all those years have gone and at such a fast pace! There’s a song by Tim McGraw that speaks about “living like you were dying” and I think more than ever, its lyrics hit home for me. So, what do I wish to leave behind? What is the legacy I am creating? For one, I’m a late-bloomer to writing and have miles to go before I sleep in reaching my goals, but more important to me is how my stories touch hearts. I hope my children will look back on an artist mom with no formal training, no college education who decided with grit and desire to start ‘painting pictures’ with words. And that they will look upon my tenacity as they discover their gifts, and realize whether their success is far-reaching or local—how incredibly important they are to use them for good.
To touch the heart of one person is more than millions sometimes can accomplish. I hope my writing shows tenacious, strong men and women who despite their struggles, achieve the happiness they deserve, proving as always, my personal belief that no matter what, love will find a way. Inspire. Be Kind. Be more grateful. Eat a Good Breakfast. It all matters!

My current book, GEORGIA ON MY MIND, exemplifies many of these attributes in the story of a young couple whose circumstances years before lead to a bitter break-up and tear two brothers apart. Life continues and as fate quite often does, makes it possible again for these two lovers—now mature—to realize what life has taught them. The experiences they now bring to the table as they reevaluate the past and face the hurt will challenge them to make choices about what they want in the future. They are writing their own legacy. What legacy are you creating?

Find balance

I recently took a new job at a university. Which I love, don't get me wrong, but I go into work before the sun comes up and rarely make it home before sunset. My current book I'm writing, the final book in my HIGHLAND SORCERY series, that I promised would be finished months ago, well, it still isn't. 

I'm too mentally exhausted to write, which for me, doesn't make for a happy camper, because I know something is missing in my routine. I crave writing like chocolate. 

So my goal is to find that balance between the day job and squeezing back in my "me" time, which for me is carving out that time somewhere and getting some writing done. 

In RULES OF THE HEART jilted bride Constance is also in desperate need of balance between doing what is expected of her or throwing expectations to the wind and going with her heart. Where better to find her balance than small town Chapel Pines, Texas at the McCagan Inn? Maybe I could book a room there and find my balance.       

Being a goddess is a joyous, badass addiction

As goddess of my novel little universe, I decide who succeeds and who fails, who lives and who dies, and best of all—who falls in love. This year, I'm writing a series of adventure novels with paranormal elements. My favorite kind of heroes are unexpected ones. From characters who are flawed and unworthy to characters who leap into the fray and quickly learn they're in way over their heads.

Beyond the sheer fun of writing, this goddess learns a lot from her characters. Like when they muster up the will to fight one last battle—the one that will likely kill them. Or when they sacrifice for another, maybe even an unworthy person, but they do it because underneath their brooding exterior, beats a gentle heart. And I love it when they thrill me with their moral courage—especially when they disobey the orders of a tyrant! 

Expect three novellas in different anthologies this year, and (shock!) at least one full length novel written under a new pen name. More on that novel in the upcoming months. I want to surprise all of you as the books roll out—so get ready! 

Love to all our loyal GLIAS readers—here's to a brave new year for all of us. To get all the news on upcoming books go to www.jillstone.com 

Be the person my dog thinks I am 
Sounds simple enough. I don't try to be someone else for my pups. We play, have fun and love unconditionally. There's a reason man's best friend is a dog. And it's no mistake that dog is God spelled backward. I want to be a person my friends can count on, love unconditionally, and be dependable. I draw the line at wagging my tail.

I too, am venturing into publishing my own work in 2017. My new series is a smash-up of what I love to read: a little comedy, a little romance, a little suspense, and a little magic. 

BODYGUARDS in HEELS has been a lot of fun to write. I hope readers will enjoy the first release HIT & RUN HALLIE later this month. LICENSE to CARRIE follow shortly after and the third book in the series, BREAKAWAY BROOKE will follow on March 21st in the HOT ON ICE anthology for the HOMES FOR OUR TROOPS charity. Stay up-to-date on all the releases and receive exclusive content by signing up for my newsletter.
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We'd love to hear if you have a mantra of your own - please share it with us if so, and let us know if its a tried and true one that has stood the test of time or something new for 2017!

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  1. Replies
    1. I agree - it was inspiring to me to read what my fellow authors were saying.

  2. My new mantra is 'whatever.' I have been positive, I have fought for my rights, I have broken the rules, I have obeyed the rules, I have done unto others, yada yada. Now I'm just gonna sit back and see what happens.

    1. At least you will be set to maintain your sanity.

  3. I have several mantras, but if you share them, their inner strength goes away! I adore Virginia's "Whatever" attitude though. Or maybe the ever-popular princess mantra of "Let it Go?"

    1. Let it go - perfect. Something I need to do more of myself!

  4. I always tell myself it's really not such a big deal. There's always someone else who has it worse than me.

  5. Replies
    1. Perfect! I'm just writing a heroine that fits perfectly.

  6. Drive fast, take chances! (Very tongue in cheek...evolved from a "be safe" parting with my brother's friends!) I also enjoy "Life is short...eat dessert first!"

    1. Ha! I think I have taken your dessert message to heart a little too keenly recently.

  7. My personal mantra changes pretty frequently. Lately I would say it's something like, "Only dead fish go with the flow. Never give up."