Birthday Giveaway

Happy birthday to me!! While there are some things about being in your 40's I could do without, I love it. It's my best decade so far, with so much more to look forward to! Thank you to everyone who has wished me a happy birthday this week.

I'm celebrating my birthday with a birthday giveaway! I've designed some new Storm MC merchandise and am giving it away. Enter below 🙂

Thank you for reading my books <3 If you wanna come chat with me and fellow readers, join my Facebook reader group!

Nina xx

 

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What’s Been Happening In My Week

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What's been happening in my week…

 

I read some great books this week –

Sparrow by L.J. Shen

This is a dark romance with a male that I loved to hate until I hated to love him. I was drawn straight into the story and loved every minute of it. The last few chapters had me madly flipping so I could hurry up and get to the end. If you love a book with crime, revenge, hate, lust, distrust and not your usual kind of love story, check this one out.

Night Shifts Black by Alyson Santos

Oh how I adored this story! The writing in this story was so understated and beautiful that I never wanted the story to end. And yet, all I wanted was for the story to end so I knew what happened with the characters. And I absolutely loved the ending! I was so glad I saw a post about this book in a reading group. If you love a story full of depth and meaning with characters you desperately want to see happy, give this book a go.

The Girl in 6E by Alessandra Torre

I just started reading this one yesterday and am enjoying it so far. This is a thriller, not romance. I'll keep you posted next week about whether I love it, but I'm fairly sure I'm going to love the rest of it!

 

I binge watched some TV this week…

Janet King – I watched the entire first season of this Australian law/crime show. If you're interested, that season is on Netflix. The second season just started on the ABC and you can catch up on iView. I absolutely loved this show!! And I've also started catching up on the show it spun off from – Crownies. My mind has gone into overdrive plotting a book with a lawyer and a cop…

 

I listened to two awesome podcasts this week…

A conversation Danielle LaPorte and Emelia Symington Fedy about – How do you tell a spiritual faker from a real light maker? Is there really enough abundance for everyone? How does it work being an introvert AND a public figure? What’s love and shame and cash and hypocrisy got to do with it? I loved this interview and realised something key about myself… the answer to something that has been holding me back for the past month. I've lost my joy. And so, now that I've figured that out, I'm on a mission to get it back!

An interview with Sean Platt on the Self Publishing Formula Podcast. Inspiring!! I've followed Sean Platt and his writing partner for a couple of years now and have read some of their books on publishing. This interview gave me an insight into how Sean manages his time and his goals/dreams. I love the way his mind thinks and would kill to spend time there lol. I'm really enjoying this podcast from Mark Dawson. I listened to his interview with Marie Force a couple of weeks ago and it was a good one too. Check it out if you're publishing books.

 

So, after realising I'd lost my joy and doing some digging within myself to try and figure out why and how to get it back, I made some decisions. I've actually spent the better part of the last three weeks trying to figure this out and I think it all came together in my mind this week. The last probably six to nine months have been personally hard months for me and I've done a lot of soul searching about everything in my life and made many changes. One of those changes was that I started to really listen to other authors about how they deal with work/life balance and burnout. I knew I needed to make changes so I did, but I've come to understand something key about me – balance isn't segmenting my life into batches of time where I dedicate a certain block of time to one thing and another block of time to another in a structured way. I thrive when my life is more fluid and flexible. And I love to work. There, I said it. I fucking adore the shit out of my work. Trying to hold myself back from creating and working sucked the life out of me. Sure, I've added back to my life some of the things I'd let slide – time with those I love, reading (oh God how I missed reading!!), making art, catching up on TV shows I love, exploring the world and some other fun things (because I also realised I was lacking fun in my life), but no longer will I not work if that is what I'm itching to do. My key takeaway from all this is to listen to myself more and trust my instincts more than listening to others.

Having given myself permission to work again (lol! I never thought I'd ever say that in my life), I've mapped out the rest of this year and started the ball rolling on some projects I've been wanting to do for ages. I can't wait to share all this with you soon!!

I'd love to hear what you've been up to this past week! Read any great books? Seen any awesome movies? Leave me a comment! xx

 

NinaL

Things I’ve Fallen In Love With This Week

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Things I've fallen in love with this week…

 

Books

The Wall of Winnipeg and Me by Mariana Zapata  – this book would have to be one of my favourite books I've ever read. If you love a romance that takes its time to build, this is the book for you! Characters you will fall in love with – real, believable characters with flaws… that would have to be one of the best things about this book. If you're anything like me, your reading requirements change weekly, sometimes daily. What I mean is, some days you're looking for a wham, bam thank you ma'am book full of hot sex and an alpha you can't get enough of while other days you're looking for a deep connection to a story. If you're on a day where all you want is sex, skip this book on that day, but I highly recommend when you're in the mood for slow and deep, pick this book up and read it!

The Sins That Bind Us by Geneva Lee – another slower, deeper book (I'm completely in the mood for these reads at the moment so if you have one you recommend please comment with the title!). I wrote a review for this one when I read it because it moved me so much –

Sometimes you read a book that you connect with on a deep level. A book that drags feelings out of you that you’d buried long ago—realisations you perhaps didn’t want to face yet. Sometimes, the book isn’t even about the same thing you’ve faced, but still the author’s words collide with your subconscious and force their way into your heart. They give you a way to connect with yourself. The Sins That Bind Us was one of these books for me.

 
“We don’t escape our addictions, they simply become our religions.”

 
I was sold on this book when I read Geneva Lee’s note to readers in the front. “I’ve been writing this book all my life and part of me wishes I’d never begun it.” I just knew this was going to be a deep book and I was right. I fell in love from the very first chapter and struggled to put the book down.

 
This is a book about addiction, regret and hope. It’s about a woman struggling with the sins of her past, and also about a man doing the same.

 
“My world is as fragile as glass, pretty lies blown carefully into a delicate bubble to cover up the ugliness in my past. The ugliness in me.”

 
These characters were so real to me. Flawed and vulnerable, they are the kind of characters you want to wrap your arms around and love. I related so deeply to Faith and cried over her inability to love herself and also over her inability to hope for anything more than what she had.

 
“One day you are going to find all the joy you’re capable of, and then you’re going to fly, Sunshine.” This time I like when he calls me Sunshine as if I could be the bright spot he needs in his life.
“I keep my feet on the ground,” I remind him. This—allowing Jude to kiss me—is the wildest thing I have done in years. “I don’t dream or wish. I can’t risk it, and I can’t fly.”
“Then I’ll build you wings.”

 
And Jude… Oh, Jude… I fell in love with this man. So broken, yet so willing to try and build a better future. And so open to love. His gentleness and patience won me over and I was rooting for him all the way. This love story is a slow build and I absolutely loved every minute of watching Jude fight for Faith.

 
“Don’t underestimate yourself.”
“It’s a force of habit,” I whisper.
“Then we’ll have to break that habit.”

 
One of the things I loved the most about Faith, and truly connected with, was her self-awareness. She has spent years examining herself and her life, and while she has her blind spots about herself (like we all do), she has dug deep and is honest with herself about many things. On the flip side, she refuses to be honest about many other things and I loved all the sides to her character.

 
“The ocean is so vast—fathomless—just like a person. I could know you for years and you would never see all the moments that made me the woman I am today. The ones that are forming me into who I’ll be tomorrow or five years from now. No one can ever truly know another person. We’re all mysteries just like the sea.”

 
I believe some books come into our lives right when we need them. This book may not be for you, where you are in your life, but I highly recommend it. Geneva’s writing is flawless and when I read certain passages, I had to stop and re-read them. My heart sighed at times. It was as if this author was in my head. She knew me. And those are the books I will keep locked inside me for the rest of my life.

 

Movies

So I finally got around to watching The Longest Ride.

*swoon*

And I cried. So. Many. Tears.

If you haven't watched this romance yet, do yourself a favour and watch it. A beautiful romance of two couples in true Nicholas Sparks style.

 

Podcasts

The Beautiful Writers Podcast – I'm a huge Danielle LaPorte fan and have been listening to this podcast for the last few months. This week I tuned in for her conversations with Brené Brown (who I have adored for years) and Robert McKee. If you're an author I highly recommend both of these. In the conversation with Brené one of the things they discuss is their inspirational rhythms. I love hearing about other writers processes especially about what being stuck really means. I think it was Danielle in this conversation who said that for her being stuck meant she was moving in the wrong direction. I could absolutely relate to this. And not just for my writing, but for my life! I've felt stuck for decades and I now know that was because I was moving in the wrong direction. They also discuss whether they read reviews and I loved Brené's response – “Does it serve the work?”. It's made me consider my own practices. The interview with McKee was great too. They discuss his concept of digitalness which he says equals shallowness. He also discussed something I truly believe in – attention span vs interest span. Many authors these days say their readers want shorter books because they don't have the attention span they used to. McKee challenges this and says it's not the attention span that has changed but rather the interest span that is of importance. “You failed to interest them,” he says. As long as the reader (or movie/TV watcher) is interested, time flies for them. He also talks about interest coming down to empathy. If a reader can't empathise with your character, they won't be drawn into the story. Check out this podcast and let me know what you think!!

 

I'd love to hear what you've been reading, watching or listening to!!

 

NinaL

Gorgeous Sydney

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Not a huge post today – just some photos capturing moments in my trip to Sydney today.

  • Some turbulence on the plane. I'm such a baby when it comes to turbulence!
  • Discovered Bath & Body Works while in Dallas last year. So glad to see it here in Australia now.
  • Picked up a few things from B&BW – am sure we'll grab more on the way home. LOVE these products!
  • Some of the restaurants and dining areas in the hotel where we are staying. I see some late afternoon cocktails in my future 😉
  • The view of the bridge from the street near our hotel.
  • The Sydney streets were gorgeous to wander along this afternoon.
  • Makeup!!

If anyone has any recommendations for restaurants in the city area, please let me know!! I've got five nights to fill with amazing food!

NinaL

 

Joy & Permission

I went and saw the movie, Joy, tonight. Have you seen it yet? If not, I highly recommend it. It's based loosely on the story of Joy Mangano, a female entrepreneur and it has a message of hope and never giving up on your dreams. I naturally gravitate to these types of movies and love stories of people who face huge setbacks but persevere and succeed anyway. OH, we saw the trailer for Hugh Jackman's new movie, Eddie The Eagle, too – it looks amazing (same kind of theme of triumph over adversity – can't wait!).

Joy brought tears to my eyes more than once. It resonated with me on a deep level. Hiding ourselves away from the world and forgetting our deepest dreams or pushing them to the side while we take care of the responsibilities we accumulate along the path of life – yeah, those themes brought memories to the surface for me. I'm sure most can relate – especially mothers and fathers. It reminded me of this video that I shared in my Facebook group the other day. Watch this video! There is so much wisdom and truth in this video.

And then I was surfing Pinterest (one of my favourite things to do online) and I came across this graphic that I pinned awhile ago.

This says “A Love Note To Entrepreneurs” but I think it is a love note to everyone.

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This is one of my most favourite graphics ever.

Don't wait for permission.

There is so much power in those four words.

I'm not waiting for permission anymore in my life.

Permission from myself, I mean.

That's perhaps one of the hardest forms of permission to seek.

Right?

Because we don't give it easily.

But, we should.

I don't know why I waited so long in my life to grant myself permission to be all that I am. I could kick myself now.

Because I wasted so many years.

Musheera academy

Tomorrow I fly to Sydney for a three day business coaching workshop.

This scares the fuck out of me a little… because I'm an introvert, right?

One of the things my coaches teach is to put yourself out there.

Scares. The. Fuck. Out. Of. Me.

But I'm going to do it.

And I'm going to meet so many amazing people (this group has some of the most successful entrepreneurs in Australia working with them).

And I'm going to go back for more in two months time (because they hold these workshops often).

I'm giving myself permission to feel the fear and do it anyway.

It's okay to be scared, but it's never okay to dim your light because of that fear (and yes, I've been doing this for years – I'll openly admit that now, but I'm choosing to live with intention this year and one of my intentions is to step out of my comfort zone, so no more!).

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Here's to bringing JOY into our lives!

And owning every amazing thing about ourselves, and allowing the world to see us.

NinaL