Sharing Second Act Wisdom

I started the Second Acts series on my blog in July of 2013. Since that time, over 100 women from Australia, Canada, Great Britain, and the United States have shared reinvention stories that will inspire anyone asking the question: What am I going to do with the rest of my life?

Here are pearls of wisdom from thirteen of those amazing women…

I leave the “What If?” for my protagonists, and instead, whenever I hear the whispered question, I take a breath and answer “Why not?” It’s the beautiful thing about becoming “older.” If not now, when? D. J. Adamson

Find your passion in life—don’t quit or turn back until you’ve discovered the one thing that you really love. For me, it was books and words. And spread your wings—get to know people in your profession, speak up, present talks, make yourself heard. Judy Alter

Own your own life. At the end of it would you rather say I tried, I tried as hard as I could but I didn’t succeed or I was scared so I didn’t try? Nina Barrett

If you want a second act, or even a third, don’t wait. Work on getting it. As Albert Einstein said, ‘A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.’  Annalisa Carr

My second act was hard fought and worth every bumpy step. I truly believe I would not be here if I’d never divorced. The struggle created a strength in me that helped push me to reach for my dreams, to search for great love, and to write about strong women who will accept nothing less.  Rayanne Haines

The play will continue, and each act will bring new challenges and new joys. My guiding passions continue to be my God, my PRH, and my children (including, now, my fictional children). Will I reinvent myself again? I’ll slow down, of course, if only because the body will demand it. Jude Knight

Start your second act the moment you think of it. Don’t wait until you have the time. If your life doesn’t feel right to you, make a change. Becky Lower

Listen to your inner voice. Be open to making a major change even if it involves going back to school to learn new skills. With the advent of the Internet, I was able to take creative writing classes that developed my skills and are now helping to advance my second career.  Carole Ann Moleti

Don’t be afraid to try something new and/or change directions. Reinvention is nothing more than flying higher and higher into the stratosphere and making your dreams come true. You’re never too old or too young to live the life you’ve always dreamt of. You must take that first step, though. Opportunity doesn’t knock on closed doors. Mrs. N

I’d advise anyone planning to retire soon to examine your life now. If an event or activity doesn’t bring you joy, maybe it’s time to let that stuff go. Have you always wanted to travel somewhere? Don’t wait! Go now! But most important, indulge your passion. Live your dreams.  Ashantay Peters

Sometimes it takes something traumatic to force a life change – for me, it was that double whammy of divorce and job loss. Those events forced me to evaluate what I wanted out of life, what was important to me, and the path I wanted to take.  Lori Robinett

My advice for those reaching their Second Stages – Dare to think big! Nancy Raven Smith

Like Nike says, “Just do it.” It may be intimidating. It may seem like hard work. But the satisfaction of starting something new is worth it. I believe anyone with a bit of grit can reinvent themselves. Kristina Stanley

Where to find Joanne Guidoccio…

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



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You Can’t Win if You Don’t Play


I’m reading a self help book by another author, (obviously another author because I prefer to make up my stories ha!) and my favourite line so far is “You can’t win if you don’t play.” (The Subtle Art of not giving a **** by Mark Munson)

This simple sentence has given me a lot of thought. Out of the 50 pages I have read so far that one little line has held me captive. You can’t win if you don’t play. How enlightening.

I have found that I spend a lot of time overthinking (worrying about) things (like everything) and I always pull myself out of the game because of it. For instance I find I don’t write nearly as many books as I’d like to as I’m always afraid someone won’t like it, a publisher might reject it, or my grammar is too horrendous that an editor will complain.

What if I didn’t overthink (worry about) things. What if I just did it and put myself in the game?

What if I write whatever I want without worrying about what others might think? What if I went into business for myself without worrying about money? Is it possible I could win? Maybe, but I think I’d have better odds of winning if I played. Right? We all could.

The latest book I have written is completely different from my usual writing and I love it. I love the characters, the plot twists, the humour … it’s my favourite one I’ve written so far. Instead of being terrified people won’t like it, perhaps it’s time to put it out into the world. If it’s sitting on my computer (not playing the game) then how will I ever know?

“You can’t win if you don’t play.”

It makes a lot of sense.

I think it’s time to play. Anyone want to join me?

Angela Scavone is the author of two Soulmate novels, Love by the book and A Journey Home. As well as a contributing author to the Christmas anthology, ‘A Soulmate for Christmas’. She lives in Ontario, Canada sharing her home with her father and much-loved trio of pups. Apart from her avid love of story telling, she likes to read, spend time with family and friends and concoct dairy free recipes from scratch. Sometimes she wins and sometimes she loses – tofu, banana and peanut butter pudding we are looking at you.

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Creating a Tantalizing Book Title

vintage ceremonyYou know that saying, “It’s all in a name”? It’s true for book titles. You’ll come up with a story line and then . . . a great title. Or, perhaps you have a title that pops into your head, and the story follows. For me, the story line always comes first. My novel’s title may miraculously appear early on in my writing, say Chapter 1 or 2 but more often I’ll finally decide on a title halfway through. Arriving at your book’s title is one thing—whether it’s a catchy, memorable one is another story.

Book titles are important—artistically and commercially. A good title resonates with a reader and will, according to publishers, help sell your book. Below, I’ve itemized 5 ways to help you create that magnificent moniker.

Alliteration. When we view a book’s title, we tend to read it silently, phonetically playing with the words. Double consonants resonate as they tumble over our tongues. Pretty Lucy sounds better as Lovely Lucy. Divine Diva rolls off the tongue more effectively than Attractive Starlet. You get the idea.

Craft a poetic title. Many best-selling books are inspired by songs and poetry. Including references to falling stars, heavenly skies, or moody girls in love all elicit immediate emotion. Poetry is always good. Just be sure not to infringe copyright laws if you think last week’s Top 10 song list is a good source to pull from. The idea is to use famous songs and poems as your inspiration and then write your own.

Citing a specific place. Think of all the books and movies based in Paris, or New York, or London. Places ignite memories and they represent glamour, intrigue and excitement. Cities evoke instant visual landmarks, whether it’s the Golden Gate Bridge, the Eiffel Tower, or the Statue of Liberty. Landmarks, memories and events define places for everyone. If there is a place that’s likely to trigger these emotions in your readers, consider using it in your title. Miami Muscles, Tears in Texas, Louisiana Love, etc.

Include an element of food. Imagine velvety smooth chocolate melting in your mouth or pastel gelato shared between two lovers. Better yet, picture these tasty treats on the cover of your book. As cover art often mimics or illustrates the title, food is always the perfect conduit in inspiring a reader’s palate.

Google your title. If you think you’ve come up with the world’s most amazing novel title, pat yourself on the back, and celebrate—after you Google it. Yup. I’ve fallen off my office chair after a wasted happy dance on more than one occasion. A great title is unique and if you Google your title and it doesn’t appear, then you’d better go buy a lottery ticket because you’re on fire.

Now you have a few tips to ponder when thumbing your fingers on your laptop, sifting through a myriad of words and phrases which will place your book (hopefully) on a Best Seller’s list.

Wait a minute. I have one more tip. A bonus (my head is still on lottery tickets).

Incorporate your book’s theme in your title. If your story involves cowboys, detectives or dukes, include their profession or hobby in the title. Dancing with the Duke, Sex with Sherlock, Crazed for a Cowboy! Notice the pattern? They each contain not only a theme, but that ever important alliteration.

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The Write Word with Wareeze

Character Descriptions

Hello again friends and fellow readers. I’m happy to welcome you again to the Soul Mate Publishing blog. Together, we have discussed countless topics concerning writing from creating worlds, scene setting, and the flawed characters. Today, I’m interested in what the physical description of a character tells about him or her. How is the best way to write about the character’s appearance without always looking into a mirror?

Personally, I like information about the appearance of a character long before I read the third or fourth page. I have a new novel under contract titled Bittersweep. I don’t have a cover, but I would like to include a few excerpts from Bittersweep as examples of my meaning.

Excerpt: Bittersweep – a historical tale set here in America.

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After fifteen years, can I find my mother’s box? Can I remember exactly where she tucked the chest away? I was only five. Will her box still be there, hidden, or will it be destroyed?

Elizabeth Campbell peered out the window of the passenger car as the locomotive puffed into the station at Bittersweep, Texas belching ash from the smokestack. The train came to a screeching halt beside the station. She folded the newspaper dated August 10, 1897 and positioned it under her arm slowly rising from her seat. Drawing a deep breath, she curled her fingers around the handle of her carpetbag. Tension bunched her neck and shoulder muscles as she stepped out onto the wooden platform.

The warm mid-day sun of late summer washed the scene in heat and vivid light, but did nothing to lessen the dark apprehension or the pain in her heart. Perhaps I’ve made the biggest mistake of my life. I didn’t want to return, but I’m back. I need this teaching position, desperately.

She followed her shadow into the shade afforded by the overhang of the roof to the train station’s ticket office. At least I may have a chance to discover what really happened all those years ago.

Allowing her gaze to survey the little settlement nestled deep in the piney woods of East Texas, she found much had changed. The sleepy community had grown into a small township. The once familiar dry dust kicked up by horses’ hooves, the creak of saddle leather, the rumble of wagon wheels rolling past, and boots tramping along the boardwalk remained relatively the same, only more so—more of everything—noise, people, and shops. Faint odors of roasting meat floated out from the inn dining room across the street and pummeled her with memories. Memories she couldn’t shake. Memories were one of the reasons she’d been afraid to return to Bittersweep. Still, now that she had returned, she must find answers.

Tormenting glimpses from fifteen years ago flashed inside her head. The sounds of crackling, consuming fire, and the acrid smell of smoke rising above the trees from where her home once stood, roared through her mind. The noise of rattling wheels beneath the wagon carrying her away from Bittersweep ripped through her memories dragging her back into the past. Her stomach knotted and she fought down the need to heave up the few bites of apple she’d eaten on the train. She swallowed forcing herself to relax.

Conscious of her long hair flowing down her back in waves, always admired for the shiny thickness and rich dark color, she ducked her head. Elizabeth hoped nobody remembered the larkspur blue color of her eyes, a dead give-away as to her identity. After fifteen years, none would recall a five-year old child. She avoided direct eye contact with the people on the walkway to cover the trepidation roaming free in her heart.

In this excerpt, the reader knows the time and place. Some hint of her appearance is also stated. She is aware of her hair, the thickness, the dark color, the length and her misguided apprehension about being recognized. This is only a glimpse, but the reader isn’t totally left in the dark. She ducks her head and lowers her eyes, the color clearly stated. She and the reader also know her looks are admired.


What other information can be gleaned from this excerpt? It doesn’t say what she is wearing, but the weather indicates the end of summer, so the reader can assume she is wearing appropriate attire. Her age is also apparent. Fifteen years ago, she was five years of age. She is twenty and single because she came to Bittersweep to take up a teaching job which she desperately needs. The reader is given much information—a picture painted in words.


In another excerpt the reader can picture the first male appearing in the story:

Stamped with authority, his ruggedly handsome features were guarded by the brim of his Stetson, but she could still see his eyes, compelling and direct. She narrowed her lids against his stance and his penetrating look. “And you are?”

There are several ways to describe characters without stating her eyes are blue and her hair is dark brown. She isn’t gazing into a mirror either. The same could be said about the male character. The reader knows he is ruggedly handsome, at least in her eyes. He is wearing a Stetson and his eyes are compelling and direct. He sounds like a hunk.


Another excerpt from a different book: A Lady’s Vanishing Choices

The Frenchman stared at his image in the cracked mirror and feathered his fingers through his dark, curly hair. His features remained expressionless, but he gazed deeply into his reflection, all the way to the depth of his soul and found chilled deadliness staring back at him. A wry grimace of amusement twisted one corner of his mouth upward as he inspected each feature.

He quite admired his hazel eyes ringed with thick, black lashes before allowing his gaze to drift down his body. Studying his athletic form from his face to his manhood, he threw his head back and preened.

In this excerpt, the reader sees through the demented eyes of the villain. He is gazing into a mirror admiring his appearance. The reader can easily picture him, full-blown and evil. I’ve included other excerpts in past discussions, so I won’t linger in this one.


A Lady’s Vanishing Choices is on Amazon for the low purchase price of 2.99.

I don’t have a release date for Bittersweep yet, but look for information on my website and face book. Thank you for spending the time to read my blog post. I hope you enjoyed the blog and gained a thought or two about describing a character’s appearance.


Wareeze Woodson

Face book:

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And just like a bad penny…

I’m back.

Hi. S. C. Mitchell here and it’s great to be back blogging on the Soul Mate site. I blogged here quite a bit when the site first started but took a few years off.

I first published with Soul Mate five years ago and my latest release, Z-Bot marks my ninth book published with them. Z-Bot is the first book in a new series for me, a science fiction romance series I’m calling Xi Force, Earth’s Sexiest Superheroes. Two more books in the series will be released this year.


Being part of the Soul Mate family has been amazing, and it is a family. Of course in the structure of things, I tend to be that weird uncle that gets invited to Christmas dinner, but nobody claims to be related to.

It’s hard to believe it’s been five years already. My first release, Son of Thunder, was in February of 2013 and spawned my Heavenly Wars series which includes the novella Valentines Day: Canceled in the Soul Mate Valentines Day collection.

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I have plans to bring this series to a satisfactory conclusion (while leaving it open for future novels) with one additional novel I’m calling A Legacy of Lightning. It’s been a long time coming, primarily because I got distracted with another series – Hearts In Orbit.

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Which includes my Novella Between Venus And Mars which is also part of a second series, the Soul Mate Tree.

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Oh yeah, I also write erotic romance under the pen name Marc Stevens and penned the novella, Suburban Spies in the Soul Mate anthology Cherished Secrets. I may even let Marc sit in for me here occasionally. We’ll see…

So, that’s who I am and I’m looking forward to sharing my thoughts with you over the next few years. I have lots of worlds to explore and a ton of characters begging me to tell their stories.







Amazon Author Page:




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Encouraging Young Readers

Recently I was visiting a friend at her house. Her seven-year-old granddaughter read a graphic novel about a lost kitten to me. I marveled at how well she read and praised her lavishly. Later, she stopped reading and marked her place with a bracelet. Grammy discovered she’d misplaced her bookmarks. They found one but I made it a point to give her three more bookmarks the next time I saw her.

Now, I like comics too, particularly the Sunday ‘funnies’. About the same time I came across the weekly strip for “For Better or For Worse’ by Lynn Johnston ( Reading it was almost a flashback to my friend’s granddaughter. While I dislike seeing books damaged or dog-eared, I especially liked how ‘dad’ gave a new perspective of it. The child was reading. Isn’t that the important thing to remember?

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Both events got me to thinking how, as adult readers and writers we have an obligation or duty to help the younger generation to become readers. Hopefully they learn to treasure books and take care of them in the process, but it’s even more important they develop an interest in reading. If you look close at the last frame of the comic strip, you will notice movies on each of the bookshelves behind the parents. A television set, with a VCR player on top is on one end of the frame and a computer is at the other. I have nothing against any of those things, however, nowhere in the cartoon does one see a book save for the dog-eared one ‘mom’ is holding. To me, that says a lot in itself.

I know so many adults who know how to read and write, they just don’t like to. They say nothing interests them; not fiction, not much non-fiction, maybe the newspaper if anything at all. To me that is sad, because I know there is so much out there ready to be explored, discovered, and enjoyed. I know one man, in his thirties, who told me in all seriousness he has read one book in his life. One! To me, that is tragic. He is smart, capable of reading almost anything, he simply has no interest in opening a book. He is a father and I can’t help but wonder if he fosters an interest in books for his young children. It would be difficult to encourage children to do what they never see him doing.

While I was growing up, books were my escape. I loved the places they took me, the friends they became, and many childhood gems still grace my adult bookshelves. However, I was in the minority. I never saw my mother with any reading material beyond a magazine. My brother would rather cut off an appendage than be forced to read. I did see my father with paperback westerns. Incidentally, I still have a keen interest in western movies and books to this day.

Compared to the rest of my family, I was book obsessed. I had to have loads of books to read. The older I got, the more genres I wanted to explore. To be blunt—I loved books. I liked the feel of them. I liked challenging myself with tougher subject matter and longer lengths. Discovering a series made my heart flutter. While my family did not demonstrate or especially encourage a love of reading, they also did not discourage it. They bought me books for birthdays and holidays. They (sort of) tolerated my long visits to the bookstore where I spent my baby-sitting cash on books. I still remember walking out of the bookstore (ours was called WaldenBooks) with heavy stacks and shopping bags of books. I felt so grown up! On the long drive back home I would already be immersed in them, picking out the next great adventure.

As parents and grandparents, aunts and uncles, there are so many things we seem to get wrong while dealing with the children and youth in our lives. The one thing we can do right, and pays a high dividend on the future, is to encourage, foster, and model an enjoyment and respect for books.  When the youngster wants to read a story, remember it is a blessing to sit and be read to. If they want us to read them a story, that is equally as special. The impressions, lessons, and memories created in those moments will last them a lifetime.


Ryan Jo Summers is the author of six Soul Mate Publishing novels, including ‘Shimmers of Stardust’, ‘Chasing the Painted Skies’,  ‘Upon the Tide’, ‘Beside Still Waters’, and most recently ‘Rainbows in the Moonlight’. She is also one of the contributing authors to the Christmas anthology, “Sizzle in the Snow’. She lives in North Carolina with a houseful of rescued and unique pets.

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New Year, Same Goal


2018. It’s hard to believe we’re already in the year 2018. It feels like yesterday I was in high school and we were getting used to writing 2000 instead of 1999.

A new year is always full of potential and promise. Goals, resolutions, hopes and dreams. Whether you want to lose that pesky five pounds or finally finish your memoir, the new year always gives you renewed hope that it can be done.

The older I’ve gotten, the more reflective my resolutions have become. Five years ago, my goal was to become a mother and to get my first novel published. Four years ago, both dreams came true.

This year, like the last few since my children were born, my goal is the same: to enjoy every minute. While it feels like yesterday that I held my son in my arms for the first time and then less than a year later, his baby sister, it’s been almost four. That little baby is now an active, curious, full-fledged little boy and I don’t want to miss a second of it.

Whatever your goals, resolutions, hopes and dreams may be, I hope you reach them all in 2018.


“A Trip to the Big Easy Turns into a Big Nightmare…”

When private investigator Jordan James returns home to New Orleans for Christmas, she never imagined her holiday could end with kidnapping and death. As she begins to investigate the mysterious disappearance of a childhood friend, she unwittingly stumbles upon a dangerous, international syndicate. With lives at risk and time running short, Jordan must find a connection between these seemingly unrelated events if she ever hopes to find her friend.

SIMPLE MISCONCEPTION, Coming Soon from Soul Mate Publishing!!!

Also from Rachel Sharpe:

COLD AMBITION, Available Now on Amazon!!!
LOST DISTINCTION, Available Now on Amazon!!!
BITTER RETRIBUTION, Available Now on Amazon!!!
Rachel Sharpe is the author of Cold Ambition, Lost Distinction, Bitter Retribution, and Simple Misconception, all part of the Jordan James, PI series. Although born and raised in the South, “Yankee” relatives first led Rachel to historic New England, which she has come to consider her second home and is the setting for the series.
After obtaining a Bachelor of Arts in English, Rachel began dedicating her free time to her childhood passion, writing, and in the fall of 2013, she signed with Soul Mate Publishing. An active member of Sisters in Crime, Rachel currently resides with her husband and children in the Greater New Orleans area.

Check Out Rachel’s Sites to Keep Up with Jordan James!!!


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