Inspiration and Motivation From My Bookshelves

In 1977, I purchased my first self-help book, Your Erroneous Zones by Dr. Wayne Dyer. Since that time, I have devoured hundreds (possibly thousands) of self-help books. Some I’ve purchased…others I’ve borrowed…some I’ve reviewed…many I’ve given away.

Here are ten Go-To books that still grace my bookshelves:

Rising Strong by Dr. Brené Brown

“If we’re brave enough, often enough, we will fall.” Dr. Brené Brown shares her own struggles and gives practical advice on how we can reframe our own stories, get back up again, and create daring new endings. Read my review here.

Quiet by Susan Cain

A self-proclaimed introvert, Susan Cain shares her own story and that of successful introverts who have learned to survive and thrive in highly-charged workplaces. Read my review here.

Take It From Here by Dr. Sonya Friedman

An excellent guide for women struggling with change. Dr. Friedman shares nine critical steps that help with setting standards and boundaries, embracing mistakes, and moving from “what might have been” to “what can be.”

You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay

“The word incurable, which is so frightening to so many people, means to me that this particular condition cannot be cured by any outer means and that we must go within to find the cure.” I discovered this book during the first month of my cancer journey. Fourteen years later, I still refer to Louise Hay’s timeless message of hope and healing.

Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway by Dr. Susan Jeffers

When I picked up this book in the late 1980s, I was in my mid-thirties and struggling with several decisions. I have reread this book many times, especially during critical junctures in my life. It’s an excellent resource for those of us with risk-averse tendencies.

Broken Open by Elizabeth Lesser

Whenever I’m dealing with unexpected challenges, I turn to this beautifully crafted memoir filled with moving anecdotes and humorous insights. Ms. Lesser address the question: How do we emerge from suffering and challenge with real, encompassing wisdom and love?

Picking Up the Pieces by Sherri Magee and Kathy Scalzo

After my treatments ended, I experienced a low-grade depression. I am grateful to the friend who recommended this book that addresses the challenges of the recovery journey.

Playing Big by Tara Mohr

Ms. Mohr provides practical tools to help women quiet self-doubt, identify their callings, “unhook” from praise and criticism, and take bold action. My favorite chapter – Leaping, a special action that gets the adrenaline flowing and stretches us out of our comfort zone.

Making Life Easy by Dr. Christiane Northrup

Having read and thoroughly enjoyed Dr. Northrup’s previous books–Goddesses Never Age and The Wisdom of Menopause–I decided to pick up this latest release that focuses on the importance of a healthy emotional life and a robust spiritual life. A delightful read!

The Cow in the Parking Lot by Leonard Scheff and Susan Edmiston

Whenever I’m feeling stressed or overwhelmed with circumstances beyond my control, I reread this interactive book based on a Zen parable.

What is your Go-To self-help book?

Where to find Joanne Guidoccio…

Website | Amazon | Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn | Goodreads | Pinterest

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Ready for Fall

Hello Soulies! It’s me again. Apparently I took a momentary detour (it happens to everyone from time to time right? Please tell me that it’s not just me…) and I got ahead of schedule and uploaded my blog post a week too early. So lucky you, you get to enjoy 2 of my posyss this month!!

Okay, okay, keep the cheering down to a minimum. 😉

Last week I wrote about sappy movies and because I got ahead of myself, I had even less time to come up with a post for this week-my actual turn. I wasn’t sure what to write about on such short notice.

And then I happened to look at a calendar while reminding my kiddos yet again of who had what chore what day and I saw that the 1st day of fall was only a few days away. Saturday, September 22 to be exact.

Perfect topic right?

First let me say that I enjoy all of the seasons.

Winter and its cold, snowy days-perfect for sipping hot cocoa, warm blankets, and snuggling with your special someone (or a good book).

Spring with it’s new sunshine, blooming flowers, and its essence of a fresh start.

Summer’s warmth can not be denied. A perfect time for swimming, vacations, and grilling outdoors with friends and family.

And then you have Fall.

There is just something about Fall that makes it stand out to me above all other seasons.

Maybe it’s the way the air changes, developing a certain crispness that wasn’t there before. A freshness that sharpens the senses.

Or maybe it’s the way the leaves begin to shed their brilliant green in exchange for robes of warm yellows, dusty golds, vibrant oranges, and deep scarlets.

Fall is a time for apple cider, cozy sweaters, fuzzy boots, and yes, pumpkin spice everything. (It’s also the season for Halloween-my favorite holiday but that post is for another time).

I can’t wait for the cooler weather, the beautiful colors, the delicious smells, the sitting-outside-in-hoodies-around-a-bonfire time. I love this time of year. When it’s not too cold, not too hot. The perfect time of year. So as I get prepared for the Fall season, I want to know: are you ready for it? And what is your favorite time if the year?

Thanks for stopping by. Sorry my post wasn’t very long but I hope you enjoyed it anyway. ☺

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Starting Over

Hey fellow Soulies! Thought I’d share my thoughts about a little bump in the writing road I’ve been experiencing lately. It’s been a busy summer and now, with fall upon us, my schedule just isn’t letting up. Guests, travel, weddings and all the associated trappings have kept me from any sort of regular writing schedule. So a book I planned on having out by September 1st isn’t even finished yet.


Writer’s block? Not really. For the first time I’d actually broke down and outlined the thing, not a practice I usually adhere to. But this book has been taking me so long to write it’s a good thing I did. If I hadn’t, I would have forgotten the ending by now! No, it’s truly more a lack of time and maybe a little loss of enthusiasm. The shiny new idea that had me so excited three months ago suddenly doesn’t seem so shiny.

It’s just covered with a layer of dust, that’s all. Time to go back and brush it off.

That’s exactly what I’m doing. I went back to the beginning of the manuscript and started reading it. Of course, I’m editing along the way, but just re-reading my own story has breathed new life into it. I’m seeing glimmers of the enthusiasm I felt when I first began. And I have no doubt that by the time I get to the point where I stopped, the words will begin to flow again.

Sometimes you just have to go back and start over.


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Writing Through Stress…A Different Take

Howdy, Peeps!

Things are vastly different around my homestead. Yeah, there is still stress, but not the drastic amount I had been dealing with previously.

During the time from my last post to now, I also lost my older brother. He was killed in a car accident, in a truck driven by his sixteen year old son with his learners permit (a week before my nephew was supposed to take his drivers test). Super tragic. Still. The family is completely devastated. He was my hero growing up. I did everything to have favor in his eyes. Some awful things happened in the family (not the awful you think right away, just terrible miscommunication that lasted beyond our parents dying.), and we grew distant. We tried to maintain a relationship and we kind of did, but then we didn’t. And then we were trying again and doing really amazing. And then he died.

The youngest is in college. She’s close enough to be home most weekends. She’s dealing with roommate issues, but she’s handling them like a champ. Currently, she unloads all of her daily stress on me, which should be no surprise. She’s been doing that since the very, very first day of preschool. It is tiring though. Very tiring.

The “house guests” moved out. They were gone by the time That Man and I came back from our trip, but they left 75% of their stuff here. That’s been an issue, but That Man has been taking care of things so we have our whole living room back. Awesome! We will be doing more moving of their stuff (to our attic) this weekend so we can reclaim our space. The youngest will move to their old room, and I will “finally” have my OFFICE!

I’m almost afraid to type that, but we’re in positive mode now, so I will have my office!

The point is, that if you’re struggling with an insane amount of stress and feel like you can’t write… hang on. It may take time, but it will get better. You may think you are going to lose your mind, but it will get better. Just keep fighting for yourself and what you need, and it will change.

From me – I am writing again! I just signed another contract with Soul Mate for a book I absolutely love! I am on fire for my writing career again! I cannot tell you how awesome that feels.

In this week alone, I have nearly finished a short story, planned out my next book, and signed up for a book festival. I’m also doing two other book events, which is three times more events than I’ve done in the last year.

I feel like I have my mojo back!

I am still dealing with the regular stress, and some not regular stress, but my mindset is so much better.

I want you to know that it does get better. You can do this. You are amazing. You have the fire that will burn deep inside while you deal with your drama. And it’s okay to not write while you deal with it. Forgive yourself. Write your trauma out and then delete it. Put your anger and desperation on the page and then get rid of it. I did that a lot. It helped.

Hang in there, fellow writer. You can do this.










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Out of Africa by Rebecca Heflin

Fair warning: This post isn’t about the movie by the same name. Nor is it about writing. It’s about taking the time to experience life. We often get so caught up in day-to-day life, eyes focused on our goals, our obligations, that we put aside dreams and aspirations with a ‘someday’ dismissal.  Someday, I’ll . . .

Well, I took one of those ‘somedays’ and made it happen—before it was too late.

IMG_4256Hubby and I took a dream vacation this summer to a place that has been on my bucket list for a long time: Tanzania. He’s been numerous times, but we could never get the trips to work with my schedule. This year, we made it work. And what started out as a bucket list trip turned out to be a trip of a lifetime.

Our itinerary included three of Tanzania’s game reserves and national parks for a photo safari. I love animals and nature, and seeing the African animals in their natural habitat was beyond my wildest imagination.

Our first stop was Tarangire, which is the sixth largest national park in Tanzania, andIMG_4182 my personal favorite. It’s known for its herds of elephants, and I couldn’t wait for my first elephant encounter in the wild. The experience didn’t disappoint.  In fact, we got pretty up-close-and personal when a herd that had been grazing several yards away turned and made their way toward our safari vehicle. My heart was pounding with both excitement and fear. After all, any one of the large adults could tip our vehicle over like a child with a Tonka truck. After a couple of breathless moments, they went about their business like our vehicle was just part of the landscape.

Tarangire is also famous for its baobab trees. The broad trunk and comparatively spindly limbs look like something out of Dr. Seuss.

IMG_0576We also spotted plenty of zebras and wildebeests, and the odd hippo. We even came across the elusive leopard!

The next day’s destination was Ngorongoro Crater. The crater, all that’s left after a massive volcanic explosion millions of years ago, is two thousand feet deep and 100 miles across. Scientists speculate that the original volcano stood at some 19,000 feet above sea level. Kilimanjaro (which is also in Tanzania) stands at 19,340 feet. There is an abundance of game in the crater, including zebras, Thomson’s gazelles, Cape buffalo, impalas, and more, and a dense population of lions.

One of its inhabitants is the rare black rhino. We only spotted a couple a great distance away. When you’re some of the last of your species and you’re a favorite of poachers, it’s no wonder you’re extremely shy.

The last park we visited was Serengeti. Roughly the size of Connecticut, it would takeIMG_0701 two weeks or more to see the entire park, and we only had five days. But we made the most of those five days. On one particular day we witnessed two Nile crocodiles take a baby Wildebeest. It was a fearsome display, but awesome too, in its own Circle-of-Life-kind-of-way.

At the end of one day in particular day, we stumbled upon a giraffe (they being a IMG_4291bit shy) and the light was perfect!

And on another equally awesome day, we had forty to fifty zebra visit the watering hole outsideIMG_0788 our room.

Every day offered its own bit of ‘awesome,’ until the trip had become legendary. I’m still riding the high of the experience, and will for some time to come.

You can see more of the photos from my trip of a lifetime on my Facebook page.

How about you? Do you have that ‘someday’ on your bucket list? Have you experienced that trip of a lifetime?







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Good morning soulies! In the last few weeks, I’ve spent some time (too much probably 🙄) watching movies. New movies, older movies. Movies, movies, movies. A few were action packed but most were those gut wrenching, rip-your-heart-out, make-you-bawl-like-a-baby movies.

After watching me grab for the box of tissues again, my daughter asked me if I cry so much over these type of movies, why do I watch them?

So why do we like to watch those sappy, romantic, tear jerker movies?

Apparently I’m not the only one that has questioned our movie choices. Check out these research results:

One study found that women are more likely than men to respond to negative emotional stimuli in films (such as heartbreak, death, despair, and tears), while men are more likely to respond to positive emotional stimuli (like when the bad guy finally gets what’s coming to him).

Maybe this why I enjoy those romantic tear jerkers so much…

Life is full of nasty, terrible surprises-you just watch the evening news to see that-but it’s full of wonderful, happy ones as well. Most people, myself included, prefer happy endings in both movies and books. I want good to defeat evil. I want love to conquer all.

Now I know that in reality, in real life, that doesn’t always happen. But that doesn’t stop us from wanting it to. So why do we watch those movies that end in heartbreak instead? Why are we drawn to them? 🤔❓

According to experts, sad films make us feel empathy for others through the release of oxytocin.

Empathy is a vital aspect of emotional intelligence.

And when we empathize with other people (even fictional ones on screen), our brain releases oxytocin, which engages brain circuits that prompt us to care about others.

Exercising empathy makes us better able to connect to the real people around us, both right after viewing a sad film (in the form of hugs and shared tears) and later on, by training our oxytocin system.

Research shows fiction, in both literary and cinematic forms, greatly improves peoples capacity for empathy. In turn, we become more open-minded and understanding individuals, making us increasingly compassionate in our interactions with others.

There was even a study done to show proof of this theory:

In an experiment conducted by graduate students, participants were shown a video from St. Jude Children’s Hospital in Memphis, TN.

One half of the group saw a portion of the video in which a father discusses the terminal brain cancer of his young son, Ben. The other half watched a part where Ben and his father visited the zoo.

The portion of the video in which Ben’s cancer was discussed was obviously more difficult to watch and produced a more emotional response.

But the participants who watched it exhibited a 47 percent increase of oxytocin as measured in blood, which also proved to alter their behavior in positive ways.

Afterward, all of the participants were asked to make choices involving money and other people.

Ultimately, the individuals who watched the more emotional segment were far more likely to be generous to strangers and give money to charity.

Wow! Who knew watching these types of movies would continue to affect us long after we watch them? 😮

But its not only adults that feel this rush of empathy. The video below, which I’m sure you’ve all seen before, only proves my point.

Yes, I have to admit it, I cried at the movie too.

I’ve even cried at Finding Dory and A Dog’s Purpose.

(My kids simply roll their eyes at me).

But I’m okay with that. So how about you? Do you enjoy sappy movies?

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Weave Weather Into Your Work

I was going to write about something entirely different today, but as I sat riveted watching the non-stop Hurricane Florence coverage, it occurred to me that we must weave weather into our novels to ensure realism. Writers should also take advantage of timely, newsworthy topics, so here goes.

If you ever plan to include a hurricane in your novel, now is the time to notice the evacuation demands, unfortunate price gouging, the mad packing and stuffing of cars/vans/RV’s, the 24/7 news coverage, boarded up homes (as well as the non-boarded homes from the I’m-riding-this-out folks), the sand bag lines, never-ending lines of traffic, looming, swirling radar, state and national action plans, and the wonderful people like the Red Cross, Convoy of Hope, Cajun Navy, storm chasers, reporters, meteorologists, and others  who drive straight into these scary areas to provide aid.

Writing about bad weather—really bad weather—will guarantee tension and conflict in your work. After all, our characters can’t always have a sunshine-filled day while sitting on the porch drinking lemonade and petting their dog (or sipping wine and cuddling with a loved one). After a while, even rainbows and unicorns become monotonous. Writers simply can’t forget to include the darker side of reality.

Beyond thunderstorms, I’ve used a variety of severe weather situations in my novels. Now, I’m wondering if this is because I dated a meteorologist for years, but I digress.  Here are some examples of weather-related scenes in my work.

A tornado provided the outlet for a major plot twist in CHAOS AT COCONUTS. Before I wrote this novel, I wondered how I would achieve this particular shock and awe moment, and my fictional twister delivered the perfect platform.

Meme - Chaos - Hope, Tornado

I didn’t have to do much research since I live in Missouri where we have tornadoes annually. I grew up with tornado drills in school and have helped with cleanup as an adult. I  viewed the aftermath of the EF5 tornado in Joplin where trees were stripped of bark and houses were flattened down to their foundations. A huge, brick hospital was even decimated. Yes, tornadic events are heart wrenching, but they can also provide many heartwarming scenes.

Sleeping With Elvis 10_Final_830 x 1250

I created a deadly tropical storm at sea that allowed me to create tension and plot twists for my characters on Key Lime Island. I researched Coast Guard lingo, plus being married to a husband who has taken captain courses helped immensely.  We boat often and it was easy for me to describe the water sloshing over the sides, darkened skies, lightning zigzagging, losing sight of land, the rocking, slippery boat, and more to create realistic scenes.

Meme - Captain Dan storm

In closing, please know I’m not making light of this serious situation. I wish everyone the best outcome possible with Hurricane Florence. I pray no lives are lost and sincerely hope homes and businesses are spared. Please heed the warnings, everyone, and be safe. This event is not fiction.

Beth Carter won the RONE Award for THURSDAYS AT COCONUTS, was named Best Debut Author in 2015, and twice received a Raven Award Runner Up  for CHAOS AT COCONUTS and SLEEPING WITH ELVIS in 2017 and 2018. Formerly a bank VP, the author much prefers afternoon writing at Starbucks to her stuffy 8 a.m. board meetings. She divides her time between her home state of Missouri and adopted state of Florida.








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