Music Monday heats up with Talking Heads

David Byrne of Talking Heads is a hell of a performer. He’s mesmerizing in this innovative and bizarre video for the song “Once in a Lifetime.”

Sung in a stream of consciousness lyrical style inspired by early rap, it’s a favorite of mine from the album, Remain in Light. The song is an adventurous foray into African mythologies and rhythms.

Of particular interest to me was that Byrne was suffering writer’s block prior to this album. He looked to African music to break his writer’s block, realizing that when African musicians forget words, they often improvise and make new ones up. (I should try that for my next book. 😉 )

He also viewed footage of various tribal, religious rituals and incorporated some of their movements, in keeping with the “unconscious religious lyrics.”

That explains a lot when you listen to the words and watch his performance.

Enjoy the song. If this past week is any indication, spring is hopefully around the corner!

eden

8 Comments

Filed under Musical Mondays

NEW Release from @TWDittmer ~ Five-Toed Tigress #mystery

I’m very happy to announce the release of a new book called Five-Toed Tigress by T. W. Dittmer.

Tim is a beautiful writer, and I’m happy to feature his latest book.

You may recall him as the author of The Valley Walker, a book I thoroughly enjoyed after I interviewed him on my blog.

If you missed the interview, feel free to read it now. Tim is both entertaining and informative.

I picked up my copy of Five-Toed Tigress and hope you will do the same!

five toed tigress

 Buy Link

Amazon

The Five-Toed Tigress stalks the night, gliding effortlessly through the canopied forests of Cambodia– the Tiger’s Dance Floor.

She is on patrol, her mission to protect the downtrodden from the power of the greedy. Her movements are so fluid and graceful that her prowl is a thing of beauty, a dance to the music of life and death.

The Tigress is a solitary hunter, and she dances alone on her mission. She gives herself wholeheartedly to her dance, but desires a dancing partner – a mate.

* * * *

 Connect with Tim

Tim W Dittmer

Website | Twitter @TWDittmer

Amazon Author page | Goodreads | Facebook

T. W. Dittmer’s full name is Timothy Watson Dittmer. His friends call him Tim.

He was raised in Gary, Indiana, the son of a steel worker who later turned to preaching the Gospel. After high school he joined the army and volunteered for service in Vietnam.

He started writing music and poetry in high school, and has carried the love of those arts through his life. That love shines through in his prose.

He lives quietly with his wife in Michigan, where he is busy working on his next book.

XX

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Filed under Author Promotions

Music Monday heats up with Al Jarreau

Continuing on my theme of songs that keep me warm, here’s one from legendary jazz and R & B musician, Al Jarreau.

Mr. Jarreau passed away yesterday at age 76. I was sad to hear of another artist leaving us.

This single, probably his most well-known song, charted in 1981. I credit it as one of those songs that introduced me to jazz and helped me appreciate the genre.

Enjoy the sweet sound of “We’re in this Love Together” and have a good week,

eden

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Filed under Musical Mondays

VALENTINE’S DAY blog hop ~ WIN $170 Amazon gift card #leicrimeKW

UPDATE Feb. 17, 2017: This contest is now closed, and the winner has been chosen. Thanks to everyone who commented!

winner

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I’m taking a Monday Music break to make an important announcement.valentine hop #leicrimekw

As part of a group of writers for author Toby Neal’s series: Lei Crime KindleWorlds, we have banded together to give readers a chance to win an Amazon Gift Card worth $170! 

This is open to loyal fans of the series, and to new readers who’ve not read any of the books yet.

You need a Facebook account to enter, and it’s SUPER EASY! Here’s what you do:

1) Read each author’s Facebook post and check out the great recipe each has to offer!

2) Learn more about their #LeiCrimeKW books.

3) COMMENT on each Facebook post with your choice of a Valentine’s meal. EACH comment is an entry to win the $170 Amazon Gift Card!

4) While you’re there, please LIKE each author’s page. It helps and is greatly appreciated.

Below, you will find the post that is currently pinned to the top of my Facebook page.

Go to it and COMMENT, then proceed to the next author’s page and do the same. The more times you comment, the higher your odds of winning!

Contest ends Feb. 12th. Good luck, everyone!

3 leikw books

Eden is the author of 3 Lei Crime KindleWorld books –
A Snake in Paradise ~ SEAL of a Monk ~ Charade at Sea
You can find her books on Amazon at: https://www.amazon.com/Eden-Baylee/e/B004Z8Q6UQ/

haupia

HAUPIA (Hawaiian Coconut Pudding), is mentioned in “A Snake in Paradise.” In the story, Haupia is served as part of a traditional Hawaiian luau. The pudding has the consistency of Jell-o and custard and is EASY to make. Since no Valentine’s Day is complete without something sweet for your sweetie, be sure to add Haupia to your menu!

Ingredients:
1 cup whole milk
1 can coconut milk
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup sugar
2/3 cup corn starch
1 pinch of salt
Toasted coconut

Cook coconut milk over medium heat in saucepan until hot. In a separate bowl, combine milk, vanilla, sugar, corn starch, and salt and mix until blended. Pour ingredients into the coconut milk and whisk until it thickens. Fill a 9×9″ pan with the mixture, spread evenly, and chill in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours. Sprinkle with toasted coconut. Cut and serve cold.

HOP to the next author – the amazing Emily Kimelman! 

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Filed under Author & Artist Interviews, Author Promotions, Important Announcements, Lei Crime Kindle Worlds

Music Monday heats up with Bruce @Springsteen

Another interesting week has passed. Another is heating up.

“One Step Up” by Bruce Springsteen encapsulates the turmoil of a relationship between a man and a woman, but it can easily extend beyond this pairing.

Different belief systems and political affiliations are creating ever-increasing turbulent relationships.

This song reflects how I feel about the world of late.

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One Step Up

Woke up this morning my house was cold
Checked out the furnace she wasn’t burnin’
Went out and hopped in my old Ford
Hit the engine but she ain’t turnin’
We’ve given each other some hard lessons lately
But we ain’t learnin’
We’re the same sad story that’s a fact
One step up and two steps back

Bird on a wire outside my motel room
But he ain’t singin’
Girl in white outside a church in June
But the church bells they ain’t ringing
I’m sittin’ here in this bar tonight
But all I’m thinkin’ is
I’m the same old story same old act
One step up and two steps back

It’s the same thing night on night
Who’s wrong baby who’s right
Another fight and I slam the door on
Another battle in our dirty little war
When I look at myself I don’t see
The man I wanted to be
Somewhere along the line I slipped off track
I’m caught movin’ one step up and two steps back

There’s a girl across the bar
I get the message she’s sendin’
Mmm she ain’t lookin’ too married
And me well honey I’m pretending
Last night I dreamed I held you in my arms
The music was never-ending
We danced as the evening sky faded to black
One step up and two steps back

+ + +

Born to Run is Bruce Springsteen’s new autobiography.  I gave it as a gift to my husband and he read it in a week, said it was terrific.

Consider it for the music lover in your life.

Have a good week,

eden

7 Comments

Filed under Musical Mondays

SELFIE LOVE ~ A story written with Bill Kirton (@carver22) for @RBwood’s Word Count Podcast

The prompt for R.B. Wood’s FIRST Word Count Podcast of 2017 asked that we use January in the setting AND the picture below:

wcpc 62 prompt

And … I didn’t write the story on my own.

You may recall I collaborated with Bill Kirton, the esteemed Scottish author for a story titled: “The Wrong Shoes.” That was already two years ago!

Since then, Bill and I have wanted to write together again, and we’ve done it. Hopefully, we will do it again this year.

This story is written in two different voices as an e-mail exchange. Bill started it, and we went from there. Neither of us knew where the other was going. It was both fun and a challenge to write this saucy tale. You can learn more about the process on Bill’s blog.

I’m excited to write for R.B. Wood’s podcast again. The new year brings with it many creative opportunities, and I look forward to sharing my writing with you.

Enjoy “Selfie Love.” You can listen to Bill and me reading the story on episode 62 of R.B. Wood’s podcast.

eden and bill selfie love

flourish

Sorry, Laura, I don’t get it. I mean, it’s been, what, 2 months? And not a word. Then suddenly, you send this. The photo. I know, I know, we said no commitment, no follow-ups. And that was right. I knew there’d be hell to pay with Alice if she knew. I mean, wives get understandably pissed off with that sort of thing. You made it pretty clear it’d be the same with your Tom. They wouldn’t understand. Of course they wouldn’t. I get all that, but I don’t know, I thought we’d at least keep in touch somehow. But not like this. An email, no words, just this attachment. What the hell’s it mean?

At first, I thought it was maybe just your way of saying you remembered a great night, a great way to start the year. Just the two of us, the house by the water. But I don’t remember us taking a shot like this. There were much better views. I mean, when the tide’s out like that, the estuary’s… well, just mud. Then I remembered, we did take some shots from here, but we were just fooling around. They were all selfies. So I looked through them. Great memories, certainly. You look as gorgeous as ever. And we’re both grinning like idiots. But then it struck me that one of them was taken from exactly that point on the road, the same point as the one you sent. Not just approximately, but exactly there. The single phone wire top right, the rail bottom left, the angle… If it was just a shot of the view, it’s a helluva coincidence.

But it’s not a coincidence, is it? It’s the selfie. You’ve just photoshopped us out of it. Used bits of the other shots to paste over us. And you’ve done a helluva good job. But why? Is it a fancy way of saying it won’t happen again? No more nights or weekends? I want to believe you sent it for good reasons, not scary ones. So humour me, will you? Remember, I have a very small brain, so I need things spelled out for me. What’s it mean? Please.

Love and lots of our kisses

Ross.

*****

Ross,

You’re right. This is a strange way to reconnect … and I’m sorry.

I had this email in my “Drafts” for days. Frustration, more than anything made me finally hit the send button. Now, I wish I hadn’t. I wish I’d had the courage not to follow up as we’d agreed. I hate myself for my weakness.

This cryptic photo is the umpteenth iteration of this email, started more than a week ago. I can’t tell you how many hours I’ve spent trying to find the right words, and in the end, there were no words. I thought the picture would explain it better.

I had hoped you would understand. You were always in tune with my moods, even in the beginning when we were only speaking through emails and messaging. It’s why I originally agreed to Skype. What we had is something I’ve never had with any other man.

I’m saying this not because I blame you. Our time together brought me more happiness than I’ve had in my marriage in years, but now … I’m being punished. How fucking selfish of me for pursuing my own needs!

Oh Ross, don’t you see? If only I could erase us from that freezing day in January as easily as I photo-shopped us out of the picture, I would.

Forget about me. Forget about us.

Be the stronger one, and don’t contact me again. Please.

*****

Laura,

I’m sorry if you thought the long gap meant that asking me to be strong had worked. No chance, I’m afraid. No, it’s the same as it was for you. Different versions of this email have come and gone. The first one came out of panic, anger, said all sorts of despicable things that would have guaranteed it was over – you and me, I mean. Then the pathetic self-pity kicked in and I was pleading, begging – a completely unlovable, cowardly wimp. Thank God I didn’t send them. I hope I’ll be able to keep all that in check this time because I need to understand why. I can’t get past that word. Why? Why? Why? It just keeps on eating at me.

I’ve re-read your note so many times I could probably recite it from memory, but there’s so much of it I don’t understand. That January night seems decades away so maybe my recollections are skewed, but I don’t remember agreeing that there wouldn’t be any more. We were a bit quiet at the end but I thought that was because the weekend was over and we’d be going our separate ways – but not forever. I’m obviously not always in tune with your moods as much as you say. I certainly didn’t pick up on that one. Maybe I only ever saw what I wanted to see. You said yourself that us being together brought you happiness. It did. That’s what I saw.

You know, I thought I was joking about having a small brain but trying to decipher your email makes me think it’s probably true. In different circumstances, we’d have thought the symbolism of erasing a couple from a selfie was brilliant, but not when it’s us. God, we’ve been so careful, even with one another. Remember how we resisted that word ‘love’ for so long. Joked about it only being lust. Love was dangerous, threatened everything. But we were just fooling ourselves. In the end, it had to be said. And it was true. Still is. And part of the deal was that we’d only let ourselves say it as long as no one else was hurt by it. It’s been hard sometimes to hide it, but we’ve managed it. None of our friends suspect anything. It’s not going to be nearly as easy hiding the ache there’ll be if we do stop.

I’m just rambling. I don’t know what to say, how to convince you. You say you’re being punished – how? What’s punishing you? Who’s punishing you?

Sweet Laura, I don’t want to be the one who makes you miserable. If the problem is things I’ve said or done, tell me please. If the only way to take away the hurt is to say goodbye, I’ll say it. I won’t like it, but I’ll say it. Remember when I told you about that bit from Byron? I wasn’t being a pseud or pretentious. I meant it. It was something I read at school. I must have been 16, maybe 17, and it summed up exactly what I wanted. And it’s what I had, have with you.

Oh that the desert were my dwelling place

With one fair spirit for my minister.

Then I could quite forget the human race

And, hating no one, love but only her.

Corny? Maybe. Melodramatic, yeah, probably. But that’s what you are – my one fair spirit.

If you don’t reply, I’ll know it’s finished. I won’t write again, won’t ask any more questions or be so bloody needy. But I’ll never forget you.

All, yes, all my love.

Ross.

*****

Oh Ross …

I haven’t been able to stop crying since I got your note. I’ve told my husband I’ve come down with a bad cold. Thankfully, he doesn’t suspect otherwise. Truth is, I can’t dislodge you from my heart, no matter how hard I’ve tried. Until I read your email, I was barely functioning.

When I wrote to you, I was so confused. I didn’t see another option but to end it with us. I’m in a difficult place, but my tears haven’t all been sad ones. Reading your words gave me joy as well, especially the part where you said you still love me. Secretly, I must’ve hoped you would write back even though I asked you not to. I also love the piece from Byron. You see Ross, you do know me, even better than I know myself these days.

I’m so sorry I caused you pain. I never intended to. I just hurt so much after coming back from our weekend. With you, I discovered what it was like to feel true happiness. Our time together was bliss, and I’m still shocked that we managed to meet. We went from emailing one another to Skype to finally spending the night together. How many people get such an opportunity, and how many actually take it?

And though I’ve always believed that we should want what we have, I couldn’t resist you … so here we are.

You once asked me why I never called your wife by her name. I don’t think I ever responded, but I’d like to tell you now. The reason is because she and I don’t have a relationship. She’s your wife. If I were to use her name, it would bring her to life in my head, as if she were connected to me somehow, which she isn’t. And that goes for my husband as well. I never mention his name when I talk to you.

We’ve been so careful to keep our spouses and friends outside the world we’ve created. It’s just been the two of us … until now.

I waited as long as I did before I sent my first email because I had to be sure.

Ross, I’m pregnant with our child.

*****

OK darling, I haven’t given it enough time to think this through but I can imagine how anxious you are to know my reaction. Don’t worry, it’s good. More than good, it’s bloody brilliant. But that’s just the beginning. We can’t do this through emails. We need to be together to talk about it, back at the house by the river. Now, or as soon as you can make it.

You didn’t say what you thought about it. Hard to, really, there are so many obstacles in the way now. I think there might have been a time, when I was a lot younger, when this would’ve scared the hell out of me. I don’t like to think of what I might have done. Now, though… Well, I just hope we want the same thing, but I’ll go along with whatever you decide. It’s your body.

It won’t be easy, untangling ourselves from the lives we’ve lived so far, but we can do it. We have to. I feel bad, very bad, about how it’ll hit Alice and Tom. There’s no way round that. It’s not like erasing them from a selfie. So much for not hurting anybody. But we’ll make it as easy as we can for them. In the end, love’s such a selfish thing, but it’s also a gift, the best thing in the world. And we have it, and now there’s a chance I’ll have not just one, but two fair spirits. We can make it. We can make it.

flourish

Thank you for reading and/or listening. Feel free to leave a comment or question. Feedback, whether good or bad is always welcome.

~eden

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Filed under Short Stories & Poetry, Writing Joint Ventures

Music Monday heats up with The O’Jays

It was quite the week with the transition of power from President Obama to the now, new president Trump. Social media blew up with rants about every aspect of the inauguration. I watched most of it live streaming on Facebook until I could not longer stomach the venomous comments. Add to that countless protests worldwide, and at times, the anger was palpable.

I am grateful for the Women’s March on Saturday, which, though heated at times, proved to be peaceful and harmonious. It showed extraordinary organization and power in numbers. And it wasn’t just women marching, of course. People from all over the world participated as a display of dissent against the Trump presidency.

He is on notice. I can only hope he listens.

This weekend, I heard “For the Love of Money” amongst other songs by The O’Jays. The group has a distinct sound, and I’ve loved their music since “Love Train” so long ago.

Well … it was interesting to learn this song was associated with Trump for his reality TV show, The Apprentice. 

The lyrics start with “Money” repeated six times, but it’s not a song that praises wealth and money. Quite the contrary, the title was a quote from the Bible, which read:

“For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”

I am not religious, but I thought it coincidental that I should hear this song at this time. Its meaning speaks to self-awareness and control, not of greed and idolatry.

I wonder if the new president realized this when he used the song for his show. If not, then he should certainly heed its true meaning now.

Have a good week, everyone,

eden

 

 

6 Comments

Filed under Musical Mondays

Fiona Grayson ~ Guest blogger from The Community of WE (@TCofWE)

My first guest blogger of the year is Fiona Grayson, a writer who lives in Brisbane, Australia. It’s also Fiona’s first time as a guest blogger, so be sure to say “Hi!” to her.

I had the pleasure of being interviewed on her blog last year. If you didn’t get a chance to read it, you can find it here.

Fiona has an interesting story to tell about her journey into the blogging life, and I’m happy to have her share it with you.

I can never meet enough interesting women, and Fiona’s personal story is one I think you will enjoy.

Please welcome her to my blog.

* * * *

Who is Fiona Grayson?

I was pleasantly surprised when Eden graciously accepted my invitation to feature on my site as an inspiration to other women, sharing her amazing story, entitled “Banker turned Author Extraordinaire”, which you can read hereEden’s story is truly inspiring and authentic, I love her frankness and wit.

So, because I’m not really a writer (am working on that), I will share a bit about my life and why I blog …

I started blogging early 2016 about manifesting dreams. I went on to develop a site that focuses on everyday women (real women, real stories), who have successfully followed and achieved their goals and dreams.

baby fiona grayson

I’m the eldest of four with three younger brothers.  I grew up all over Brisbane, in Queensland, Australia. I’ve lived in almost every south-side suburb of Brisbane (Australia) through to living in the bush (not literally). We actually lived in houses, not trees. My parents were restless people, moving every couple of years, which meant I changed schools a lot.

My youngest memories are from when I turned three, I received a pink teddy bear from my uncle for my third birthday. I remember we lived in a dead end street that backed onto a forest. I used to spend hours exploring the forest. I remember dad had bought me some real live bunny rabbits for pets, which I suspect now, were for cooking rabbit stew. I woke up one day to find they were gone, apparently taken by a fox, or so dad said. Dad also told us that sultanas are really rabbit’s poo!!!

Dad was always making up stories like that. It never stopped me from eating sultanas though (laughing). I should have been born a boy, given I liked playing with mud, playing “cow-boys and itchy bums (indians)” with the neighbourhood boys, and apparently as a baby eating my own ‘you know what’ as well as rabbits poo. I was such a gross tomboy.

fiona girl

Whenever I made a close friend, the family would up and move to a completely different end of town. For a few months, we would write letters to each other. My friend would then become a “pen-pal”, as mum called it back then. With each move I often felt lost and lonely, however, as I grew older, I got more and more used to change and began to view it as an adventure. Change for me became exciting (sometimes unsettling), but it only ever took a couple of days to adjust and adapt.

For me, change always means opportunity – When one door closes, another door opens”, that kind of thing.

Fast forward to thirteen, working at various different jobs after school. My first full-time job was working in a Real Estate office as a “Receptionist/Office assistant”. From there I worked at Kmart in the toys/confectionary section and various office jobs after that, until I decided to get into sales with the intention of earning more. I was pretty ambitious and had always wanted to become an entrepreneur or at least earn more than my parents.

My childhood was a roller-coaster ride of domestic violence, involving emotional, sexual and physical abuse. As you can imagine, stress and depression ruled my life. I understood why people committed suicide, however, that was never something I could possibly imagine doing.

I ended up marrying twice, experiencing varying degrees of domestic violence (however, I do have an absolutely wonderful son, which is what kept me going). That just goes to show how childhood experiences impact adult-hood. I am such a slow learner, dohhh!!!

fiona and son

From those experiences, I have become the strong, independent woman I am today. I think that adversity builds empathy, strength and determination. I survived and thrived because I had a best friend who was my rock, and because I became more self-aware, constantly questioning what I was doing, thinking and saying to the point that I finally realised, that thoughts and words attract more of what you say and think into your life. A self-fulfilling prophecy you might say.

The other thing I constantly reminded myself of, was, that there is always someone else worse off than you, that there are women and children living in war torn countries, and if they can survive, so can I. It is very sobering.brisbane, australia

These days my life is pretty freaking amazing, and I am so grateful that I live in this wonderful country where, if you really want to achieve anything, you can if you want it bad enough.

It might not sound like it, but I don’t dwell in the past, I continually focus on the here, the now and how FABULOUS my life is now. Marrying twice, I learned a lot about relationships, particularly the relationship with myself. I have learned that you have to love and honour yourself, be confident (or, fake it until you make it) and accept who you are. That means embracing and accepting the good, the bad and the ugly bits of yourself. Once you do that, your relationships with everyone (friends, family, work associates, acquaintances) are more authentic and happier, or at least mine are.

fiona colourful dress 2

My friends describe me as a positivity junky, vivacious, energetic ever-ready bunny, creative, driven, successful and a bit of a dreamer who “chases butterflies”. Yep, that’s me.

I’ve had a couple of businesses (spanning a period of 9 years – in promotional merchandise and beauty therapy). I’ll give anything a go. I tried, unsuccessfully to launch a mythological range of sterling silver charms. Clearly I was the only person interested in mythology and charms at the time.

I currently work full-time in the property space in state government – which is extremely interesting and diverse. It suits my inquisitive personality particularly because I love learning. I’m a bit of a sponge and working in property helps me understand and source potential future investment opportunities.

fiona colourful dress 1

I’m currently building an investment portfolio of properties, with the view of creating a comfortable lifestyle for myself for when I retire. One thing I’ve learned over the years is that you should never rely on a man to look after you financially. You can never know if a relationship is forever, so always take care of your own financial future. No-one else will. My man supports that theory he’s a realist), although, he believes we will be together forever… such a sweety. Should the passage of time reveal that we are still together in old age, it just means we will have more as a couple. He definitely has more than me, so I figure I have the better end of the stick. That’s a win-win I say.

I love surprises, cute fluffy dogs – particularly the little white fluffy cavoodles, poodles or anything with an ‘oodle’ in it. From the age of four or five I discovered and fell in love with music and dancing and did ballet and jazz. As a grown up, I dabbled in a number of dance styles – ballroom, Latin, jazz and modern jive. I did really well with modern jive, coming third nationally in two categories (WOO WOO!).

riding
I’m adventurous, a bit of a nut-bag, I love meeting new people, trying new foods, cooking, travel and am a bit of an adrenalin junkie – I love the hairiest scariest theme park rides especially the ones at the annual exhibition. I ride a Kawasaki 390 Duke motorbike, grew up with horses, learned to water-ski, have jumped out of a perfectly safe aeroplane with a hunk strapped to my back (sky-diving). I love entertaining – hosting dinner parties, mountain bike riding, yoga, meditation, power walking, writing and food. You name it, I’ve probably tried it – I love keeping busy, challenging myself mentally and physically. I’m a bit of a daredevil, however, now that I’m getting older – I have a lot more self-preservation now-a-days.

Chocolate is my kryptonite!

I have been with my wonderful partner (Bruce) since 3 December 2006. He is my rock, my lover, best friend and mentor (although sometimes he makes me mental. ) 🙂

fiona horsebackMy life is FANTASTIC these days, especially since I manifested my man into my life. I have discovered the key to manifesting and I am continually manifesting more AMAZING things in my life!

So based on my life experiences, I developed a site I call The Community of WE (WE stands for ‘Women Evolved”), to assist women to become manifesters of dreams – read how I manifested my man into my lifeinspiring women to become Go-Getters, empowering them to reach and achieve whatever their hearts desire.

fiona grayson on bike

Telling your story is self-empowering, makes you realise how far you’ve come in life and what you’ve achieved so far. This, I believe, is very powerful, as well as inspirational. Reading stories has the potential to brighten someone’s day, discover new skills and ideas and motivate you to “GO FOR IT”.

Find out the 5 Mantras that Changed my Life.

When women feel valued and empowered, women can achieve amazing things for themselves, their families and communities”

Yeah babes, now that’s what I’m talking about!

Enough about me.

Thanks heaps Eden, for having me as your guest, I really appreciate it.

****

You’re most welcome, Fiona! Thank you for sharing your story. Readers, feel free to connect with Fiona at her links below.

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Connect with Fiona

fiona g head shot

Website | Twitter @TCofWE | Facebook 

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2 Comments

Filed under Eden's Guest Bloggers

Music Monday heats up with Sam Cooke

Continuing on my theme of songs that keep me warm, here’s one that also leads us into an historic week.

By this Friday, the USA will have a new president.

The president elect has been heating up Twitter and the news for months now.

The lyrics of this song by Sam Cooke allude to all the things the singer knows little about, and yet, thankfully, he does know about love.

My wish for the new president is he realizes what he does not know and takes the time to learn it.

We don’t have a perfect world because it’s made up of imperfect people. What we do have, however, is a wondrous place, and we must live in it together.

Please spread love and compassion for your fellow human beings, and let’s try our best to make this a wonderful world,

eden

10 Comments

Filed under Musical Mondays

Music Monday heats up with @RealMeatLoaf

I tried hard to find a song about the cold, ice or snow. Basically, anything that could be associated with winter.

Though these songs do exist, I wasn’t in the mood for chilly tunes. Instead, I’m thinking about warmth and sun. For this reason, I’ll feature hot-themed songs until the weather warms up again. The connections may be convoluted, but then … so is my thought process of late.

In that vein, enjoy “Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad” from Meat Loaf. It’s from his Bat Out of Hell album, and hell is hot, right? 😉

If you’re a Meat Loaf fan, he released a new album a few months ago called Braver Than We Are, available now.

Stay warm and have a great week,

eden

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Music Monday flows with @The_xx

Happy New Year! Thanks so much for joining me for my first post of 2017.

If you don’t know by now, Mondays on my blog are reserved for music because music inspires so much of what I do. I’ve been featuring both old and new songs here since 2010, and it all started with this little post. I laughed when I read it again; it was long ago when I first started my blog. At the time, a regular music post seemed the perfect way to kick off the week. It still does.

Music has always been a constant in my life, so I hope you will continue to join me every Monday.

For 2017, I’m starting with an English band I first heard last summer.

The xx is a trio who’ve been around since 2005. They are releasing their third studio album in a couple of weeks, but this track, aptly called “Intro” came off their debut album.

I first heard “Intro” while in a hot yoga class with one of my favourite teachers, Erick.

I recall sweat dripping off my forehead as I held a painful plank pose. More than likely, I was cursing Erick under my breath too.

Then this song came on, and herein lies the power of music for me.

Suddenly, my energy changed. I forgot the pressure on my wrists and the trembling in my core. The first notes of this tune injected power into my arms and I lifted my sagging middle just a little bit higher.

Instead of being in agony, I was now Superwoman, (well, not really), but I knew I could hold that pose much longer than I had initially thought.

Have a listen to The xx, and let me know if you don’t feel a spring in your step afterward. 🙂 Crank it up!

Enjoy, and hope you have an energetic, super-charged, and powerful week,

~eden

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Merry Hanukkamas and Happy Christnukkah!

Hanukkah and Christmas overlap this year, and they won’t again until 2027, so let’s celebrate all that unites us.

 

I wish for you and your families a Merry Hanukkamas and a Happy Christnukkah!

 

merry christmas 2016

hanukkah 2016

 

 

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Music Monday honors Bob Dylan ~ Subterranean Homesick Blues

It’s the second last Monday of the year, and my final music post of 2016. Bob Dylan concludes it with “Subterranean Homesick Blues.”

In addition to his influence on music, this song was one of the first “modern” promotional film clips, long before the rise of MTV. The original clip was the opening segment of the film Don’t Look Back, a documentary on Dylan’s 1965 tour of England. In the film, Dylan, who came up with the idea, holds up cue cards with selected words and phrases from the lyrics.

The cue cards were written by Donovan, Allen Ginsberg, Bob Neuwirth and Dylan himself.

In 2004, Dylan said the song was taken from Chuck Berry, a bit of ‘Too Much Monkey Business” and some of the scat songs of the forties.

Dylan has also stated he fell under the influence of the Beat scene, and it was Jack Kerouac’s The Subterraneans, a novel published in 1958 about the Beats, that may have been the inspiration for the song’s title.

Great song and video. Wishing you a stress-free week as we head into Christmas and Hannukah. 😉

~eden

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New Release by #suspense author @JasonCMcintyre ~ DEATHBED

Recently, I had the pleasure of video-chatting with fellow Canadian, suspense author, and all-around great guy, Jason McIntyre.

Even though I’ve known Jason since 2011, this was the first time we spoke to one another.

Amongst other things, our conversation touched on writing, politics, and family. It was both fun and informative.

Two hours flew by!

Jason has appeared on my blog many times, and it’s always an honour to share good news about his writing.

He’s written another book in his Dovetail Cove series called DEATHBED, and it’s releasing TODAY! 

dovetail cove series

The beauty of Jason’s series is that his books are standalone and can be read independently. Each one comes with its own unique set of characters and do not have to be read in chronological order.

Having said this, if you are planning to get into the series, NOW is the time to do it!  

DEATHBED goes back to the very beginning in the Dovetail Cove saga.

Jason’s books are addictive, and there is no time like the present to get hooked. I’ve ordered my copy, and so should you.

Please help me in congratulating Jason on his latest book!

* * * *

death bed

Buy links: Amazon US | Smashwords | Apple

 

The Dovetail Cove saga begins here—in July, 1971. Farrah’s on summer break and she’s sure to tell you she’s NOT twelve, she’s TWELVE-AND-A-HALF, thank you very much. The tiny island-town of Dovetail Cove is the only home she’s known. And tonight, she’s sneaking out to visit her Gran and show her a ‘mystery box’ she’s stumbled across at the Main Street Summer Market, dead certain there’s a story hidden within. And she’s right. Events reach back to 1956 and a shadowy ‘incident’ that started the darkness on the island. Only a handful know the true details of the incident. And even fewer have witnessed this new darkness, but Farrah will catch a glimpse of it tonight…at the edge of her Gran’s DEATHBED.

* * * *

Connect to Jason

jason c mcintyre

Website | Twitter @jasoncmcintyre | Facebook | Goodreads

JASON MCINTYRE is the #1 Kindle Suspense author of THE NIGHT WALK MEN, bestsellers ON THE GATHERING STORM and SHED, plus the multi-layered literary suspense THALO BLUE. His short fiction has appeared in numerous magazines and won several awards.

His current release is the full-length follow-up novel to THE NIGHT WALK MEN called THE DEVIL’S RIGHT HAND, available now.

Learn more and connect with the author at http://www.theFarthestReaches.com

* * * *

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Music Monday honors Bob Dylan ~ A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall sung by Patti Smith

This past Saturday, Nobel laureates gathered on a stage in Stockholm to receive their awards. Bob Dylan, who won the prize for literature was absent. During the awards ceremony, singer Patti Smith performed Dylan’s song ‘A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall’ in his place.

At one point during the performance, Smith falters, apologizes, and says she is nervous. The audience applauds and she continues.

Her humility shows her for the class act that she is. She is human and imperfect. Her rendition of the song is wrought with emotion, and for me, that is much more important than perfection.

Enjoy, and I hope your week is a great one,

~eden

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Music Monday honors Bob Dylan ~ I Want You

I’m continuing with Bob Dylan for the rest of 2016, and unlike the previous two weeks, I’ve chosen a different type of song. It’s neither political commentary nor an anthem of change.

Don’t get me wrong. This is Dylan. It’s still a complex song.

“I Want You” is lyrically rich, though I’ll admit I only ever remember the happy melody and repetitively longing chorus.

“… I want you, I want you
Yes, I want you so bad
Honey, I want you …”

These words take up space in my brain over the more intricate lines in the song. They stir me because of their passionate simplicity, as if to say: “Nothing else matters, and I’d give up everything to be with you.”

It’s madness, and yet, who would not want to hear these words spoken to them?

It’s coming to the end of the year, and it’s not been an easy one for many of us. Maybe it’s best to let rationality slip away for a while, if only for the time it takes to listen to this song.

Enjoy your week,

~eden

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Music Monday honors Bob Dylan ~ Things Have Changed

Following up on the same theme with Dylan’s “The Times They Are A-Changin'” from last week, we move to this song, released in 2000.

“Things Have Changed” hailed from the soundtrack for Wonder Boys. It won the Academy Award and the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song.

It’s another fitting song for the times. Here is the last verse.

” …  I hurt easy, I just don’t show it
You can hurt someone and not even know it
The next sixty seconds could be like an eternity
Gonna get lowdown, gonna fly high
All the truth in the world adds up to one big lie
I’m love with a woman who don’t even appeal to me

Mr. Jinx and Miss Lucy, they jumped in the lake
I’m not that eager to make a mistake

People are crazy and times are strange
I’m locked in tight, I’m out of range
I used to care, but things have changed.”

Have a good week,

~eden

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Music Monday honors Bob Dylan ~ The Times They Are A-Changin’

Since 1901, the Swedish Academy has annually awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in memory of donor, Alfred Nobel.

On October 13th, it honored Bob Dylan as its latest recipient. The last time an American received the prize was in 1993 with Toni Morrison.

The Academy cited Dylan’s work as “having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition.”

I have mixed feelings about his victory.

Don’t get me wrong. I think Bob Dylan is brilliant. I value his contributions to music, culture, poetry, and I love many of his songs. I would not dare downplay his talent.

No, my thoughts have to do with whether he should be given a prize that has been traditionally awarded to a writer of fiction and non-fiction.

It hardly seems like a level playing field to measure the song lyric against prose.

Prose presents itself naked on a page while the lyric is dressed up with voice or instrumentation or both.

As an author who struggles to create with only words, I know how difficult it is to produce a story, poem, or novel, and I empathize with writers because of this.

Bob Dylan is an incredible songwriter—perhaps the best, but is he a writer of literature? I don’t believe so.

Regardless, I want to honor him and his music over the coming weeks, for the simple reason that his songs remain as relevant today as they were when he first wrote them. That is an amazing feat when you consider they span a career of more than fifty years.

I was surprised to discover that after writing nearly 300 music posts, I’ve blogged Bob Dylan only three times, and just once on his own with “Blowin’ in the Wind” as part of my Harmonica series.

The other two times were in a group with “My Back Pages” and “End of the Line” with the Traveling Wilburys.

In light of the recent American election results, this classic of Dylan’s is once again, prophetic of changing times.

Here we see him performing for President Obama at the White House (Feb. 2010) in celebration of music from the Civil Rights Movement.

Is it me, or do you feel a twinge of irony in this?

Wishing all a peaceful week,

~ eden

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Music Mondays remembers Leonard Cohen

leonard cohen 2

I started my Music(al) Mondays segment November 2010, and Leonard Cohen was the second blog in the series. It’s with great sadness that he is no longer with us.

Here’s a wonderful quote from him: (on his writing process).

“Well, I’ve never been intimidated by form … What we call a novel, that is, a book of prose where there are characters and developments and changes and situations, that’s always attracted me, because in a sense it is the heavyweight arena. I like it — it frightens me, from that point of view — because of the regime that is involved in novel-writing. I can’t be on the move, it needs a desk, it needs a room and a typewriter, a regime. And I like that very much.” 

Cohen had an innate love of the English language, and it’s revealed in every interview I’ve ever read of him. He was thoughtful in how he chose his words and phrased his responses. His economy of words was what made him both poetic and interesting.

The inspiration I took from him almost six years ago lives on.

It’s time for me to get writing, but not before I leave you with one of Leonard Cohen’s songs.

“Tower of Song” is both funny and self-depreciating. The song jokes about his voice (“I was born like this / I had no choice / I was born with the gift of a golden voice”). He ranks his songwriting skills “a hundred floors” below those of Hank Williams, and admits to the ravages of time with the line “I ache in the places where I used to play.”

Rest in peace, dear sweet man. May you forever sing to us from your tower of song.

Looking forward to a better week,

eden

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Toning my Mind, Body, and Time Travel (Part 2) #Bali #Ubud

Welcome to the fourth instalment of my Mind Body Series. If you missed the first three, you can start reading here. The series is about my efforts to unite mind, body, and spirit to inspire my writing.

I started writing this blog while in Indonesia. I have since returned home. What an amazing trip!

Here are some final thoughts on my time in Ubud, which encompasses changes I encountered in Bali from the last time I was there in 1988.

Postcards—The Internet of the Past

The Internet was in its infancy when I was traveling around Asia almost thirty years ago. For all intents and purposes, it didn’t exist. To stay in touch, one of the first things I did when I arrived at a new destination was pick up a stack of postcards and spend a couple of hours writing them. The process helped me acclimatize to my surroundings and lay down thoughts on my travels while planning next steps. I had a list of about twenty people to write, including family, friends, and acquaintances I had met along the way.

Writing postcards was not just a responsible travel ritual.

I did not pen: “Hi, I’m here in XYZ city. Alive and well!” on all my cards. No, each one was personalized.

Even though it was one-way communication, postcards helped me maintain friendships and forge new ones.

bali postcard

In my two years away, I must have sent close to 200 postcards. My only regret was that I didn’t send one to myself each time I posted them. Along with my photographs, they would’ve added another dimension to my scrapbook.

Fast forward to this trip and I can hardly remember when the Internet did not exist.

En route to Ubud, I connected with loved ones at each juncture—each time I landed at a different airport until arrival at my final destination. Media platforms like Facebook and Twitter made it easy. I no longer had to write a note to each person. I could provide an update of my whereabouts and what I was doing en masse.

It was quick and easy, but it did not have the personal investment of postcards. As much as I love the Internet and its ability for near instant communication, it lacks for something. Perhaps I’m a romantic. I still like writing letters and cards on occasion.

Even now, postcards are available if I want to buy and send them, but the process seems like more effort than it’s worth. For a short trip, coupled with slow postal service, postcards probably won’t make it to the addressee until I’m already home.

For most people (and me included) *sigh*, the Internet has replaced postcards as the touchpoint along one’s journey.

Hostels and Hotels

Hostels were a great place to meet other travelers especially when backpacking on my own. I never felt like I was alone and the normally small facilities meant I would make friends, usually over breakfast or while using shared facilities.

This type of accommodation was perfect for a twenty-something on a budget. I don’t remember exactly where I stayed in Ubud so long ago, but it couldn’t have been more than $4 a night.

This go-round, I didn’t exactly stay at the Ritz, but it was luxury by comparison. I had a large room, king-sized bed, and a washroom I didn’t have to share with anyone! Breakfast was included as was a pool, and housekeeping was excellent. Space and privacy was what I valued during my stay at Gana Restaurant and Villa.

If you’re thinking of going to Ubud, consider booking Gana, located centrally and within walking distance to many attractions. The best way to book is via Anita’s Airbnb Listings. She has multiple places listed with different price points.

gana staff 2

The friendly and helpful staff at Gana!

Monkeys—Then and Now

Below are pictures of me in the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary back in ’88.

bali me and monkey 1 I was feeding peanuts to the Balinese long-tailed macaques and recall them being quite timid. They didn’t mind sitting with me for a while before scampering off.
bali_monkey-2

For this trip, I brought with me a a bag of unshelled peanuts again. Unfortunately, visitors to the forest can no longer feed the monkeys certain foods—peanuts being one of them. The caretakers maintain a strict diet with the monkeys, which consists of sweet potato, bananas, coconut and other fruit. It’s understandable for the continued health of the monkeys.

monkey forest sign

Instead of feeding them nuts, I gave them bananas purchased inside the Forest. Several monkeys approached and snatched the fruit immediately. They were no longer willing to sit and have a chat. 😉

monkey forest 3

There are now more than 600 monkeys living in the area. This has more than doubled since I was last there. Along with the population growth, the monkeys now seem more brazen. I can’t help but think it’s due to the continued interaction with tourists.

screen-shot-2016-11-07-at-7-47-37-pm

One of the guidelines states: Do not make eye contact with the monkeys. They see this as a sign of aggression.

And yes, there are stories of how monkeys bite, scratch, and jump on tourists.

The amount of interaction between humans and monkeys did seem too intimate at times. I saw tourists posing with monkeys using their selfie sticks, the monkeys on their heads and shoulders. I was only too happy to observe from afar.

monkey-forest-roots

A photo opportunity with a monkey did not interest me, as I wanted my presence to be as non intrusive as possible.

screen-shot-2016-11-07-at-7-43-15-pm

Along with monkeys, there are 115 separate species of trees and three temples inside the Forest. With its moss-covered statues and hanging tree roots, the Forest is an amazing place to walk through.

monkey forest temple

Pura Dalem Agung Padangtegal or the “Main Temple,” built around 1350

Toilets, Toilet Paper and Why the Hose? 

When I was first in Indonesia, I was terribly naive about many things. The first time I walked into a public toilet, I was shocked to find nothing more than a hole in the ground. No toilet paper.

Luckily for me, I always traveled with a small packet of tissues, so I was able to take care of myself that time. Later, I learned the lay of the land as far as toilets were concerned.

If you’re squeamish about bodily functions, this is a warning not to read further.

In Asia, travelers spoke incessantly of their bowel movements. Whether you were constipated or had diarrhea was a topic of conversation at breakfast. I quickly got over my shyness around the subject, and to this day, I have no issue talking about poo to anyone at anytime. (Not that too many of my friends want to talk about this anyway!).

There are several iterations of the Indonesian toilet. In the one I first experienced, a ceramic basin filled with water and a bucket stood next to the toilet. The idea was to use the bucket to scoop water from the basin and clean yourself—with your left hand only. (I’ll talk about this distinction of hands shortly). You would also use the water to flush contents down the bowl.

Below is a pretty fancy version of these toilets. The one I remember was simply a hole with no decorative ceramic tile. I’m not sure why the water is brown in this picture, but it should be clean water from the spigot.

squat toilet

With regards to cleaning yourself with your left hand only, I learned this when I was introduced to an Indonesian man and extended my left hand in greeting. He was polite but did not shake my hand.

As the left hand is used for cleaning yourself, you would never touch a stranger with it. Also, Indonesians eat traditional meals with their hands, and only the right hand is used to pick up food.

On this trip, my hotel had a Western-style toilet along with a handheld hose—a bidet, if you will. I saw more and more of these bidet hoses in public restrooms.

toilet with hose The hose is attached to the seat and activated by a button or knob, or in some toilets, it is mounted to the wall. In any case, it’s a step up from using the bucket. The idea is simple: After you finish your business, you would hose yourself while sitting on the toilet. Because I had good water pressure at my hotel, I didn’t need to clean myself with my hand.

The hotel also provided toilet paper, which I used sparingly to dab myself dry after applying the hose. A full roll of paper is only about a quarter of what you would get in the West.

Toilet paper is expensive, and the sewer system is not equipped for flushing copious amounts of it.

It takes some adjustment and coordination, but I like the idea of cleaning with water. It’s much more hygienic than just using toilet paper.

Food and Drink

I LOVE Indonesian food.

I had opportunity to eat at some fantastic warungs this trip. These small, family-owned businesses serve traditional food, and are usually housed in modest dwellings, though some can be quite large.

trad-food The food is normally a simple combination of rice, meat or fish, and a vegetable. Along with a drink and shrimp chips, you can have a filling meal for less than $3.00.

trad-food-2

What makes the meals delicious are the spices, usually a combination of chilli, turmeric, garlic, and ginger. Curries are also a big part of Indonesian cuisine.

curry

On one of my last days in Ubud, I was invited to a friend’s birthday party with many other women. It was a veritable feast that lasted over three hours. Thank you Ednawati!

I tried a shaved ice dessert made with fruit, grass jelly, and sweet and condensed milk called Es Campur.

me holding es campur

I never thought I would be able to eat the entire bowl, but I did. It was so delicious! I couldn’t finish the birthday cake though, but it was also very good.

dessert-and-drinkYoung coconuts were abundant, and since it’s a super food, I could not get enough of them. The juice from one coconut filled me for hours.

coconuts

Wine is expensive in Indonesia, given it is imported and there isn’t much variety. I’m also not much of a beer drinker. As such, I drank hot tea most days, particularly green tea, which I am addicted to! I found an amazing brand of it at Kakiang Bakery near my hotel and bought three bags to take home.

Now I have to find out how to replenish my supply once it’s finished! green-tea

On this trip, I tried something I’ve never had before—Kopi Luwak coffee. If you are unfamiliar with this coffee, it is the most expensive coffee in the world.

Why? The unusual production process.

The coffee beans (which are actually seeds) are digested by the Indonesian cat-like animal called the civet cat (known as luwaks in Indonesia). The feces of the cat/luwak are collected by farmers, processed, and then sold as Kopi Luwak.

Cat poo coffee.

civet-coffee

I told you I had no qualms talking about poo. Heh.

So, did I like it?

To frame my response, remember I’m a lover of green tea. I’ve also been off coffee for several months, so my taste for it is not discerning, by any stretch.

I drank the Kopi Luwak black, which is what you’re supposed to do in order to experience the unique flavour.

Truth is … I didn’t hate it, but that’s not exactly a ringing endorsement!

kopi luwak

Kopi Luwak is very rich, as you can see from the residue around the cup.

I tried not to disturb the coffee as I drank it, but once I got near the bottom, it became too thick to continue.

My best analysis of the flavour is it’s a blend of dark chocolate and dark coffee with a smooth, nutty aftertaste. Given I usually take my coffee with a bit of cream, I expected it to be bitter. Surprisingly, it wasn’t bitter at all.

My recommendation is you try it once and make up your own mind. Indonesia is certainly the place to do it.

Travel with Purpose

When I traveled to Bali and Asia in the late eighties, the purpose was to explore the world. With an open ticket and no set timeline, I started in Hong Kong and meandered from there. I had a simple formula—when my funds ran out, I would return home.

Indonesia was not on my radar when I started my journey, but it manifested as I met other travelers along the way.

bali_Goa Gajah

Goa Gajah, 1988

The only purpose of that trip was to expand my realm of experience and my mind. The power of travel helped mould me into the person I am today.

festival banner

On this trip, I planned my stay around the Ubud Writers and Readers Festival. The festival saw numerous speakers come together for a five-day event to discuss writing, books, and issues affecting the world today.

open-dance-for-fest

The festival began with a traditional Balinese welcome dance.

The theme – Tat Tvam Asi: ‘I am you, you are me’ – created a strong focus for the conversations.

eden at the festival

One of the most entertaining speakers I met was Delhi-based author, Mayank Austen Soofi. (You have to love a man who chooses his middle name after his favorite author!).

He writes a popular blog called The Delhi Walla. I attended a couple of his panels, one in which he shared the stage with three other authors.

His approach was decidedly different from the others.

How so?

He didn’t try to sell his books by obnoxiously mentioning them while answering questions from the moderator.

Indie authors like myself who do it all, including promote our work will understand why this is so important. Nobody wants to listen to someone who screams: “Buy my book!” at every turn. In the age of social media, over-selling is easy to do, but it won’t work. Seasoned authors know that selling a book does not mean flogging it to death.

Mr. Soofi’s responses, infused with enthusiasm, warmth, and wit sold his book.

nobody can love you moreFor this reason, I feel fortunate to have received a copy of Mr. Soofi’s book, Nobody Can Love You More. It is an account in words and photographs of life in Delhi’s red light district. He was gracious enough to sign the book for me, and I look forward to reading it.

mayank sign book

Writing, yoga, and sightseeing made up the other days of my stay in Ubud. Instead of telling you about it, I’ve attached a slideshow. You will see for yourself why Ubud, Bali is one of the most magical places on earth.

Thank you for reading. Now that I’ve returned from Bali, my Mind Body Series will tackle other areas of my life. I hope you continue to join me as I explore this curious time in my life.

~eden

Approximately 30 pictures

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