Tuesday, August 22, 2017

LIFE OF AN AUTHOR: REFLECTIONS OF THE SOLAR ECLIPSE 2017

Totality as seen by Salem, Oregon

Happy Tuesday, Everyone!

I have had an interesting beginning of my week. Yesterday was one of nature's most awe inspiring sites, the highly anticipated total solar eclipse of 2017. We stopped our daily lives for over an hour and a half across the country in large cities from the Atlantic to the Pacific, mega highways to dirt roads, national parks to small patches of grass, to organized parties to small backyards gatherings, and stood together to experience the moon's slow trip across the sun, and in some areas, totality, the first total solar eclipse to cross the entire continental United States since 1918.




The event had been hyped in the news for weeks, and I have to admit, I got a little tired of hearing about it. I mean, what's the big deal. If you think about it, a solar eclipse happens somewhere in the world everyday. If I don't catch this one, there are other chances, right? 
My daughter picked me up a pair of free NASA glasses [THANK YOU NASA] and my sweet hubby made himself a pinhole projector box. But if I was doing something else, then I could miss it, right?

I have never been so wrong, so uneducated, so passive. This event doesn't happen that often and it was A BIG DEAL! I needed to be part of it.

 

Sorry, I couldn't help it. 

But seriously, this day ended up being an experience I will never forget. I was spending my morning at my local library, [South Bowie Library]. I go there when I want to turn everything off and write. I'm trying to have the next book in The D'Azzo Family series, The Analyst, to my editor by October 1st. The quiet atmosphere helps keep me focused. I also don't sign into their WiFi so I can't slip out of that focus by checking Facebook or my other social media playgrounds. After about an hour, the quiet study room became downright loud, very unusual. I poked my head out and there had to be over 300 people lined up along the side walk and in the lobby. Yup, I totally missed the large posters inviting people to the library for the solar eclipse party. The excitement in the children's' voices was intoxicating. But... when I get into what I call 'my zone', I write the most emotional scenes. To stop writing, pull myself out of  the D'Azzo's world and back into mine, well, I lose everything. The action in the scene would still be there, but the emotion- the element in the story that brings readers to my stories in the first place, would dissipate, gone forever.  The children's voices increased, and at that moment, I saved my document, closed my laptop and joined the crowd. And what a crowd it was. I live in a uniquely diverse area, every nationality and religion represented. People from all walks of life all came together in front of this wonderful library to experience this empyreal event. To think I thought for a second that it could be ignored. I didn't take photos of the crowd because I didn't want to disrespect anyone's privacy, but here is a short piece I found this morning that will give you an idea of what I was experiencing.

From the New York Times: The Solar Eclipse: Highlights From Its Path Across the United States

Here is my take on that hour and a half. [Excuse the lack of grammar and read the emotion behind the words.]
My Eclipse...No one cared who voted for Trump. Complete strangers were sharing their solar glasses with the stranger next to them because they wanted them to be able to experience the full effect. I handed my glasses to a kid who didn't have a pair, but no one asked me why I didn't take the time to order glasses ahead of time. They just offered theirs to me. Everyone was so kind, generous, considerate, making sure I, in my power chair, had a good view. No one cared that the kids were screaming with excitement at the top of their lungs because we all felt the same childlike excitement. Strangers hugged the strangers next to them because they were so overwhelmed by the experience, they had to share it with whoever was standing next to them. And when it was over, we all said farewell to each other--hopefully a little closer, a little more compassionate toward each other.

I can't believe I almost missed a true example of the best humanity. All I can say is thank God for loud, screeching, children's voices. 

Hugs to all,
Nancy C. Weeks

Saturday, August 19, 2017

MY THOUGHT FOR TODAY-BARCELONA, SPAIN


FOR THE PEOPLE OF BARCELONA

 Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.

~Martin Luther King, Jr.~


This has been such a sad week. My website was down for days so I'm a little late with this post. My heart aches for those so senselessly killed and injured in Barcelona. I can't come to grips with the why. I'm certain of one thing. The persons responsible are heartless cowards and they will pay dearly. 

I try to keep my post positive, but that is so hard right now. I grieve for those who lives have been changed forever. I wish with all my heart I could fix this world, end the violence, hatred, and the prejudice. Can on person make that kind of change?

Mahatma Gandhi said,  “As human beings, our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world – that is the myth of the atomic age – as in being able to remake ourselves.”

So maybe I can't change the world, but I can remake me! I can rid my heart of the hate---and the need for revenge. Instead, I will find a way to forgive them. It may take some time, but I will work on it. I refuse to help evil win. That's not why I'm on this earth. There is such goodness, such love in mankind, and in this amazing world we all live. That is my pledge today. Evil doesn't have a chance against the power of my love. Join me my friends and love each other just a little harder, a little deeper.

LOVE TO ALL,
Nancy C. Weeks

Saturday, August 5, 2017

CURIOSITY ROVER FIFTH YEAR ANNIVERSARY

Hello Everyone!

Five years ago today, Curiosity landed on Mars. As a few of you might remember, my first interview on this blog was with my amazing sister-in-law, Joy Crisp.  Joy is Project Scientist for the Mars Exploration Rover Mission. Here is a quick throwback to that original interview. 




Wednesday, September 19, 2012 ...

I have always been inspired by people who follow their dreams.  Today, I’m so excited to introduce a woman I have been in awe with for years. Dr. Joy Crisp, the Mars Science Laboratory Deputy Project Scientist, is here to share with us how she learned to dream, and how her dreams led her to Mars.

Joy, I know that since the new Mars rover Curiosity’s landing in August, you have been living on Mars time.  I can’t thank you enough for taking time out of your crazy schedule to share what keeps your dream alive and how you handle the constant ups and downs.


Would you please tell us a little about yourself?

I received a bachelor's degree in Geology from Carleton College in Minnesota and a PhD in Geology from Princeton University.  My scientific expertise is in the mineralogy and formation of volcanic rocks on Earth and Mars. I have been a scientist at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory since 1987, carrying out NASA-funded research on volcanic eruption clouds and lava flows on Earth and Mars.  For the Mars Pathfinder Project, I was the Assistant Rover Scientist and Alpha Proton X-ray Spectrometer Investigation Scientist.  After that, I was the Mars Exploration Rover Project Scientist for the Spirit and Opportunity rovers for six years.  In my current job as Mars Science Laboratory Deputy Project Scientist since 2005, I have worked to maintain the science integrity of the mission and to prepare for and carry out science operations for the Curiosity rover on Mars.



         People of all ages have forgotten how to dream. What inspired you to dream?

What inspires me to dream is being a “rock detective.” I like trying to figure out how rocks formed by studying and interpreting the clues revealed by textures, mineralogy, chemistry, and the local geology.  The rover missions on Mars have allowed us to answer a lot of questions about what Mars was like in the past, and have also taken us to the next level of interesting questions for us to ponder.  To be on the very edge of these discoveries, and to see the detective work as it unfolds, is awesome and exciting.  I am also jazzed that kids and people in the general public find the rover missions interesting and that it inspires kids to be more interested in science and engineering.

We all place obstacles in our path which brings our dreams to a dead stop. I call these obstacles dream killers. What was your dream killer and how did you overcome it?

I’ve never come to a complete dead stop.  But my work on the Mars missions has been a never-ending cycle of encountering problems and either overcoming them, working around them, or accepting them and resetting expectations.  The problems span a wide range of things that the whole team faces: tight schedule constraints, budget issues, technical challenges, complexity challenges, and new bureaucratic challenges!

         How do you keep the dream alive under extreme adversity – external or internal?

What keeps me going is seeing new pictures come down from Mars with amazing surprises and hearing about new things the science team is figuring out.  When working on a Mars rover mission that is years in the making, before it gets to Mars, the dream stays alive with the realization of how exciting it will be when the rover finally gets there.  It also helps that a whole team works through the problems together. The wide variety of people helps bring different ideas, attitudes, and team spirit into the mix and strengthens our ability to get through it. 

When you reached the top, how did it feel?

When each of the rover missions have landed successfully on Mars (Sojourner, Spirit, Opportunity, and Curiosity), I felt a huge sense of relief and happiness, but also realized my life was about to change tremendously once again as my workday life suddenly changed from planning and preparing for a mission to actually carrying out a mission. Each mission has been more difficult than the previous one so the psychological and scientific payoff keeps increasing.

         How did realizing your dream change you?

         It made all that hard work leading up to the success feel worth it. And it makes me really proud of the team – that we pulled it off.

        What's next? What new dream would you like to reach for?  

My current dream (which I share with the whole science and engineering team) is that we are able to use the Curiosity rover to its fullest and make it all the way over to Mount Sharp.  We won’t know what discoveries will be in store for us until we get there, but the pictures taken from about 5 miles away are stunning!  I want to help enable the science team to get the most out of the mission we can, and participate in the learning. 

Joy sent me two new outreach products that I thought you might enjoy. If you are an educator, you really want to check this out. Amazing information to use in your classroom.


Curiosity’s First Five Years of Science on Mars     

Five years of Martian discoveries after seven minutes of terror.


A Guide to Gale Crater   
The Curiosity rover has taught us a lot about the history of Mars and its 
potential to support life. Take a tour of its landing site, Gale Crater.


If you have any questions for Joy, please feel free to post them in the comment section before or shoot me a email, nancy@nancycweeks.com. You can keep up with Joy and the Mars Rover project HERE

Hugs to all,
Nancy C. Weeks

Saturday, July 8, 2017

I WISH I WROTE THIS---BUT I CAN LIVE BY IT

Happy Saturday my dear blogger friends!

I hope your week went well. This morning, I opened an email from my sister. I thought I might share it with you. Honestly, I wished I wrote it. One thing I can do is live it.

From my sister, Terriann:
Good morning ladies,
     I found this short article in the paper this morning.  I’m taping it to our refrigerator…

“I am a mental health provider, and I have this piece of advice for all those whose lives are not what they want theirs to be: For the love of God, quit complaining and do something! You can’t afford to travel? Get a second job or a weekend job and start saving.
Don’t like the family you were born into? Join a church or a club or an athletic team and create a family of like-minded friends.
Feel that you are stuck and life is passing you by? Make a list of priorities and take the first step toward making number one happen.
In a dead-end job? Train for a better one at the local community college. No job at all? Volunteer, make crafts to sell, post offers to clean or do yard work at the local grocers.
Spouse drinks too much? Join Al-Anon.
Depressed? Start eating better and walking a mile or two a day.
Not close to your family? Make the first move, call often, and build your side of the bridge.

Quit waiting to win the lottery, to fall in love, for a pill to bring you happiness or for miracles to parachute into your life. Each of us is given a life, a brain, and a couple of decades to make a difference on this planet. No one else is responsible to bring happiness to us; it’s each of our responsibility, and what we create out of our time on earth is up to us. Thanks for letting me sound off! —S.”
~~~
That is truth if I ever heard it. My sweet mom taught her seven kids that we came with everything we need to live a happy life. It's up to us to figure out how. In my own life, I have found living the 11th commandment works for me. 


 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.
John 13:34New King James Version 

Again, so simple, but potent. This note was published in Carolyn Hax’s column. She writes for the Washington Post. I'm sorry---I don't know who S is. So S, if you read this post, please email me and I will post your name immediately. I'm following my big sister's advice. This post is going on my refrigerator.

If you would like to share what has worked for you, please leave a comment below or email me. Nancy's Email

Hugs to all,
Nancy C. Weeks

Friday, June 30, 2017

REMINDER--LAST DAY FOR SHADOWS AND LIGHT SERIES SALE

Happy Friday Everyone!

This a quick reminder post. The first three books of my Shadows and Light series, In the Shadow of Evil, In the Shadow of Greed and In the Shadow of Malice will be on sale for only a few more hours. The June Kindle promo sale is suppose to be over at midnight. So...if you or a family member--or friend missed one of my wonderful McNeil brother's HEA, please take advantage of this amazing price. It will go back up to $4.99 Saturday, July 1st. 


 IN THE SHADOW OF GREED

IN THE SHADOW OF EVIL 

 IN THE SHADOW OF MALICE


Please share this around. I hope you enjoy reading about my McNeil brothers as much as I loved writing about them. That's it for now. Have a wonderful weekend and I hope you find a moment to read a great book.

Hugs to all,
Nancy C. Weeks

Friday, June 23, 2017

WELCOME BACK SUSANNE MATTHEWS, AUTHOR OF SWORN TO PROTECT

Happy Friday, Everyone!

I'm so thrilled to have Susanne Matthews back on my blog today. She is here to share her new release, Sworn to Protect with us, but she also left us a wonderful post that I think we all can relate. 

"Sometimes, we hang onto those dreams for a lifetime before acting on them. At other times, we just let them fade in to the “just imagine” column..."

I hope you enjoy Just Imagine as much I as did. In my humble opinion, I'm grateful Susanne took the leap beyond just image. I'm off to pick up my copy of Sworn to Protect for my weekend read.  

Just Imagine!

Thank you so much for inviting me to visit your blog today. As I was preparing to write this post, I thought of a number of different topics before settling on Just Imagine, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized it’s the perfect topic to introduce my latest novel, Sworn to Protect.

I began my writing career in the fall of 2012 when I penned my first romance/suspense novel, Fire Angel. Since then, I’ve written 19 novels, 2 novellas, 3 short stories and 3 episodes of a sci-fi series I intend to finish later this year. Sworn to Protect is my 12th romance/suspense title. Crimson Romance will be publishing my 13th, No Good Deed, in July. I look at the books on my shelf, and I can’t stop wondering where all the unique and unusual ideas have suddenly come from. I was a plain old English teacher for more than 30 years. Now, I’m a novelist—a dream come true. Just imagine how many books I might have written if I had started two years earlier when I first retired from teaching, or even 40 years ago before I started my teaching career!

I’ve always wanted to be a writer and, to be perfectly truthful, I have been a writer for longer than I have been a novelist. In my teens, I wrote poetry which I shared with friends, something I continued to do for many years. In the late nineties, I wrote children’s stories for our local newspaper. One of my dreams is to edit and put those stories together in an anthology. While it’s true that children’s interests have changed, many of the stories carry moral lessons and values still current today. Just imagine what might have happened if I’d opted to stay with children’s lit. Those stories are aimed at children in grades 3-8. The closest to that I’ve gotten now is a YA published last winter called, Prove It!

Before I retired from teaching, I wrote curriculum for the Ontario Ministry of Education’s e-learning courses. Just imagine what could’ve happened if I’d elected to stay with technical writing instead of going on to become a romance novelist.

We all have dreams and aspirations. Sometimes, we hang onto those dreams for a lifetime before acting on them. At other times, we just let them fade in to the “just imagine” column and smile regrettably, thinking of how things could’ve been. But for all the dreams we have, we are also plagued with regrets.

Do I regret teaching? No, not at all. I have some wonderful memories of my days in the classroom and I know I made a difference in the lives of my students. But do I regret not trying to write sooner? Maybe, but the entire landscape of writing has changed incredibly in the past fifty years. I doubt I could’ve done then what I can do today. Technology has made an incredible difference in the lives of authors and I am definitely one. Just imagine what’s waiting out there to be discovered for the authors of tomorrow.

In Sworn to Protect, my hero and heroine get to do something few of us do in our lives. They get a do-over—a second chance to fall in love again and find the happily ever after they lost the first time around. But, like everything else in life, the price is high. Just imagine how you would feel if you woke up tomorrow and didn’t remember the last six years of your life.




The book is available in print form from Create Space and will be added to Amazon within the week. https://tsw.createspace.com/title/7234619

The Blurb:
Four years ago, a car accident robbed Nancy Frost of her child and her mother, taking what was left of her marriage with it in the process. A forensic accountant, she agrees to look at a company’s books in a divorce case, trying to find hidden assets, but her meeting with the lawyer goes terribly wrong when the restaurant is attacked.

The moment US Marshal Neil Copeland discovers his wife has been shot in a Baltimore restaurant, he rushes to her side, determined not to let her down again. As the police investigate, evidence suggests the attack was a ploy to hide a specific hit. When a professional assassin tries to kill Nancy a second time, it’s clear that she was the target and whatever’s going on is a lot more complicated than they think.

When Nancy awakes after a month in an induced coma, not only does she not remember the attack on the restaurant, she doesn’t remember marrying Neil.

Faced with the challenge of protecting his wife from a powerful, faceless enemy, Neil must bring her up to date, dredging up all the sorrow that tore them apart in the first place, hoping something will jar her memory.

As he races against time, can he save her from an unknown assassin and convince her to give the love they once had a second chance?

Find more about Susanne Matthews Here
~~~

Happy reading and Hugs to All,
Nancy C. Weeks

Friday, June 9, 2017

RELEASE OF HAPPILY EVER AFTER 9 FAIRY TALE TAKEOFFS

Happy Friday, Everyone!

I have a new release bundle coming out Monday, June 12th called Happily Ever After 9 Fairy Tale Takeoffs. 


This collection of nine anthologies is going to be a fun read, perfect for a weekend getaway. Here is the blurb:


Classic fairy tales get an oh-so-modern update in this fun, value-priced collection.



Waiting for your prince to come? Forget it! Today’s heroines are plunging into love feet first—nary a glass slipper in sight. With nine delightful stories, this bundle offers contemporary twists on beloved fables such as Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Goldilocks, Snow White, and Aladdin.


Cloaked in Blood: Little Red Riding Hood knows exactly how to handle the wolf in this shapeshifter tale. To Selena Kurt’s surprise, her clan matches her to Marcin Ulf, the big, bad wulfkin who broke her heart years ago. However, first they’re drawn into a tournament where they must face off with one another…just as their romance rekindles.

The Cougar’s Pawn: Beauty Ellery Colvard is camping with friends when she gets carried away—literally—by beastly were-cougar Mason Foye, who needs a mate to avoid his fate. But witchy Ellery doesn’t believe in soul mates. If Mason can’t convince her to be his, he’s doomed to spend the rest of his days in his cougar form.

Best Laid Plans: Practical anchorwoman Violet Gallagher and hotshot photojournalist Jake Macintyre live in different worlds, until the night she catches his eye at a party and loses more than her dancing shoes to him. Is their one enchanted evening worth a lifetime of dreams?

Protecting the Prince: Someone’s determined to stop Eliam Prince from taking over the family shipping docks. He needs a bodyguard, no matter how much the concept makes him grumpy. But security expert Winter Wyn soon learns that keeping this beautiful man safe from sabotage, blackmailers, assassins, and his own stubborn pride isn’t nearly as hard as protecting her own bashful heart.

Catch a Falling Star: Brianna Daniels’s courageous ailing stepsister has one wish: she wants to go to the ball. Brianna makes it happen and Natalie meets her prince at the fundraising gala for the city’s elite. The problem is, Brianna falls for gorgeous patent attorney Matthias Gustafson, too. What kind of wicked stepsister would begrudge a loving young woman’s one shot at happiness?

A Late-Blooming Rose: Bookseller Beau Landry boldly ventures to the estate of bitter and downright beastly hermit Eva Mitchum, determined to buy her rare collection. What he discovers is a lonely, hurting, wheelchair-bound woman who has forgotten how to love. When she challenges Beau to stay with her in exchange for the books, the offer will change both their lives.

** This one is mine! His One Wish: Special forces veteran Aiden Cooper is hired to track down Turhan Technologies’ missing technical genius, Jin Ru, who’s disappeared with the prototype for their powerful new software. But when his path crosses with the alluring heiress of Turhan, Jazlin Morgan, sparks fly. Can they save her family’s company from her greedy uncle’s clutches?

Music to her Ears: When blonde, bubbly Hannah “Goldie” Loxley gets a housesitting gig for the Rievaulx Trio, world-famous concert musicians, she accidentally ends up in the bed of middle brother Mike. Confusion soon leads to an undeniable attraction. But will their whirlwind romance falter when reality settles in?

Fairy Trouble: When her new charge Cindy finals in an art competition in New York, fairy godmother Esmeralda must step into her slippers to attend Murphy Enterprises’ costume ball. She doesn’t expect to catch the eye of handsome, unassuming heir Ryan or fall for him. However, convincing this skeptic that magic is real and she’s not just a con artist will be no easy feat.

By T.F. Walsh, Holley Trent, Elizabeth Palmer, Nancy C. Weeks, Dana Volney, Jennifer DeCuir, Andrea R Cooper, Jessica Starre and Stephanie Cage
Sensuality Level: Sensuality