Monday, May 28, 2012

Attacked By Days

I try to take one day at a time, but sometimes several days attack me at once.
~ Jennifer Yane

Saturday was one of those days. My son started his new job at Waffle House at 7AM; I dropped him off, came home and practiced piano for a few minutes, took a shower, put on a pretty dress, and drove to Piano Works in Duluth - a thirty-minute drive - to accompany a friend and colleague who played the first movement of a Mozart piano concerto in her student recital at 10AM. I came back home, pulled together recital programs and goodie bags, picked my boy up from work at 2PM, then was back at Piano Works for my own students recital, which started at 3:30. Afterwards, I joined a student and her family for dinner - the only relaxing thing I did all day - before I came home and collapsed.

Everything ran smoothly. The piano concerto went well and my students played exceptionally. Despite this, by the end of the day, I was physically, mentally and emotionally depleted. Which is the case more often than not. When a person wears as many hats as I do, it isn't obvious how the crazy can be avoided. But there have been many extra stressors this spring, and they are finally taking their toll on me. My complexion is sallow; my skin is dry. I can't fall asleep at night and then wake up tired. I burst into tears over nothing. Give me a reason and the crying becomes hysterical.

Something's got to give. On Thursday, I am traveling to Tahiti with a girlfriend who won an all-expenses paid cruise and invited me to be her guest. Tahiti! I have spent a few minutes reviewing my French and taken a stab at reading a biography of Paul Gauguin. But I feel woefully unprepared for what I am about to experience. I expect I will be tossing my clothes and toiletries into my carry-on bag Wednesday night and staggering sleep-deprived into the airport to catch my 7:15 flight the next morning. I spent yesterday and today reviewing seventy pages of manuscript for submission into the unpublished Maggie Awards; tomorrow and Wednesday I teach in addition to providing chauffeur service for my high schooler who tomorrow alone is scheduled to work at two different locations, visit the orthopedist, and go to another job interview.

Yes, I am very much looking forward to unplugging, to spending lazy days on beautiful beaches and exploring a part of the world I never even imagined seeing. I am hoping this will clear my head and heart from the sludge that fills them now and that I will come home rested and restored, excited again about doing the work I believe I was put on this earth to do. I am going to ceremoniously bury my fear and hopelessness in the sands of Tahiti, for it is fear and hopelessness that are keeping me from my dreams. And as my friend Denise keeps reminding me, the Universe has already dreamed a bigger dream for me than I can ever dream for myself.

I don't want to miss it.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

I am one of the searchers

I am one of the searchers. There are, I believe, millions of us. We are not unhappy, but neither are we really content. We continue to explore life, hoping to uncover its ultimate secret. We continue to explore ourselves, hoping to understand. We like to walk along the beach, we are drawn by the ocean, taken by its power, its unceasing motion, its mystery and unspeakable beauty. We like forests and mountains, deserts and hidden rivers, and the lonely cities as well. Our sadness is as much a part of our lives as is our laughter. To share our sadness with one we love is perhaps as great a joy as we can know - unless it be to share our laughter.

We searchers are ambitious only for life itself, for everything beautiful it can provide. Most of all we love and want to be loved. We want to live in a relationship that will not impede our wandering, nor prevent our search, nor lock us in prison walls; that will take us for what little we have to give. We do not want to prove ourselves to another or compete for love.

For wanderers, dreamers, and lovers, for lonely men and women who dare to ask of life everything good and beautiful. It is for those who are too gentle to live among wolves. 

~James Kavanaugh, There Are Men Too Gentle to Live Among Wolves

* * *

May we all find what we are seeking. And let there be joy in the journey. Have a wonderful weekend.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Go Braves!

On my last birthday, I vowed to try something new every day for a year and blog about it. I called that blog Between Birthdays, and I did a good job with it for several weeks. But then it started feeling like a tedious chore and it seemed that everything I tried didn't turn out to be great material for writing. However, I am still resolved to try something new as frequently as possible, so I will share my most fun and interesting experiences here every Thursday - in keeping with Thursday's theme, Keeping It Fresh.

* * *

Tonight I went to my very first ever Gwinnett Braves baseball game. The Gwinnett Braves are a minor league team in the International League, the Triple-A affiliate of the Atlanta Braves. Games take place at Coolray Field; located just minutes from my house, this beautiful park seats approximately 10,000 and has an old-fashioned feel despite all the modern technology.

I was the special guest of my son and two of his friends.

Aladdin, Thumper and Tigger
We had a wonderful time. Besides being convenient, it was much more affordable than going to a major league game; we got to have the experience of being a part of America's favorite pastime at a fraction of the cost. The crowd was sparse but enthusiastic; the food was tasty. Sure, the night had its disappointments; we never made it on the big screen, we didn't catch any fly balls, and our team lost.

Our conclusion? We must attend another game really, really soon.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Back When We Were Grownups

Once upon a time, there was a woman who discovered she had turned into the wrong person. Who can resist an opening line such as this? 

I first read Anne Tyler's Back When We Were Grownups ten years ago, and my experience then was very different than my experience now. At age 52, I am almost the same age as the heroine, Rebecca Davitch, and have a much deeper appreciation of her conflicts. Left alone (in her case by the death of her husband) and unsuccessful in finding new love? A doormat to her children and others who depend on her? Forced by circumstances to keep putting one foot in front of the other with little time for either planning or reflection? Boy, can I relate. Over the course of the book, Rebecca reviews the decisions that she made that led her off her original path. Not exactly unhappy with her life, she cannot help but wonder "what if?" and begins to take steps to reinvent herself. Not that anyone notices. But that is beside the point.

Ms. Tyler does a wonderful job of capturing those everyday moments - and accompanying thoughts - that define our existence. At his hundredth birthday party, Poppy (the brother of Rebecca's late father-in-law) says, "Face it. There IS no true life. Your true life is the one you end up with, whatever it may be. You just do the best you can with what you've got."

It's really as simple as that. Recommended!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


I have a history of making decisions very quickly about men. I have always fallen in love fast and without measuring risks. I have a tendency not only to see the best in everyone, but to assume that everyone is emotionally capable of reaching his highest potential. I have fallen in love more times than I care to count with the highest potential of a man, rather than with the man himself, and I have hung on to the relationship for a long time (sometimes far too long) waiting for the man to ascend to his own greatness. Many times in romance I have been a victim of my own optimism.
~ Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love

I have learned more about myself in the past ten weeks than I have in the almost eleven years since my divorce.

(As a matter of fact, if I had stayed married, today would have been my thirtieth wedding anniversary.)

I have had great news; I have had devastating news. I have been high; I have been low. I have been in the darkest of dark places; I have sought easy answers, easy outs.

I am still here.

My kids have struggled through some hard times; we have dealt with it. I have been on some of the worst dates of my entire single life; I have been on the BEST date of my entire single life. I have been treated like a prostitute; I had a man cook dinner for me and hand feed me cheese and crackers during the appetizer course. Just because he wanted to.

Life is full of little surprises. Sometimes they're even nice.

What I see clearly is that it isn't about the 100 things I want in a man. Even though I have reason to believe there might actually might be at least one guy out there who possesses every quality I have been seeking.

It's about ME. It's about finding someone who can accept me just as I am.

Flawed. Intense. Conflicted. Generous. Passionate. Burdened.


I have seen a glimpse of what is possible and I am forever changed.

Friday, May 18, 2012

One Step Closer

When I saw you I fell in love, and you smiled because you knew.
~ William Shakespeare

A couple of weeks ago, I got a call from from a guy I "met" on Plenty Of Fish. I was excited to talk with him because, in addition to sounding like a cool person, he lives just a couple of miles down the road from me - making him, in dating jargon, "GD" (geographically desirable). This was the part of his profile that was especially intriguing.

I'm looking for a sensitive, caring and passionate partner who is into spiritual discovery, unraveling how this universe works, and who can think abstractly. Intelligence, wit and sense of humor are the traits I look for first. If you still have a little rock-chick left in you, all the better. Inquisitive, deep thinkers apply within.

If that doesn't describe me, I don't know what does. Rock-chick and all.

Our first phone chat went well, I thought. I guess he did too, because he followed up with this message on POF.

I really enjoyed our conversation today, very much so...I will admit that I am a little giddy at the prospect. Imagine being this close; cool, huh? I KNOW we will have lots to talk about as you definitely have the intellect I am seeking. But let's live in the now for now. Kay? Kay.

I believe he was trying to be complimentary. So why did this message leave me feeling insulted, like he was my superior and I had passed some kind of test? And why the little caveat at the end? Why bother to ask a question and then answer it for me?

Still, I offered him the appropriate reassurances. And followed his instructions (I'm not making this up) to wait for him to call again.

Because that's what all proper young ladies do, right?

A full seven days later, he rang me again - after he emailed me to get my phone number, which he had somehow misplaced. This time things weren't so pleasant. As a matter of fact, it felt more like an interview than a conversation. He grilled me about my past love interests - he has been divorced for just over a year and on the dating site for just a few weeks, whereas I have been at this for almost eleven years now - and at one point asked me if I thought there was some defect in MYSELF that ultimately led to the demise of those relationships. As a matter of fact, I think the opposite is true; I am easy to get along with and in many instances have stayed in unbearable situations much longer than I should have. But I replied, "Yes, I am a terribly flawed person and I am really looking forward to engaging in a dysfunctional relationship with you and the painful breakup that is sure to follow." He laughed and said he had enjoyed talking with me again and would like to chat with me at least once or twice more before arranging a face to face meeting.

I left those calls unanswered. Because really, what is the point?

* * *

I heard a pop song on the radio several months ago that really spoke to me. The fact that it was a Top 40 hit and the theme song from one of the Twilight movies in no way diminishes its beautiful lyrics.

I have a strong feeling that there is magic just around the bend. I will keep putting one foot in front of the other until I find it.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Jerk Curry Chicken

Jerk Curry Chicken with Jasmine Rice
We have a new addition to our family favorite recipes; click HERE for a list of ingredients and instructions. I followed the recipe to the letter, except I was unable to find the "Ocho Rios" brand jerk-curry seasoning so I substituted Kroger brand jerk seasoning. 
Jerk chicken, white potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots and onions simmering in a spicy broth.
Served on a bed of jasmine rice with a green salad alongside
Topped with Thousand Island dressing like they do in the Caribbean.
 this was a hearty and satisfying meal. 
I asked Nathan to rate the dish. He gave it 5.6 stars. Out of 5.
Let me know what you think!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Finding Your Voice

Let the world know you as you are, not as you think you should be, because sooner or later, if you are posing, you will forget the pose, and then where are you?
~ Fanny Brice

I just finished reading Finding Your Voice by Les Edgerton. Not a how-to manual, this text explains how to develop your own individual voice - how to ditch the "writerly" style drilled into us in the classroom and make anything we write, fiction or nonfiction, unmistakably ours.

I have immersed myself in craft books the past few months, with instructions on how to draft plot and create scenes, develop believable characters and write realistic dialogue. While all this information is useful and important, it has also been a bit overwhelming. Finding Your Voice has given me the confidence I need to just dig in and write and BE MYSELF. Not Jane Austen or Ernest Hemingway or even Anne Lamott or David Sedaris. One day, I hope an agent or editor will read my submission and find it to be fresh and unique and want to see my manuscript published. One day, I hope someone will pick up a book with my name on the cover and choose to read it simply because I wrote it.

Because they love MY voice.

This whole notion has been very liberating. Writing a grammatically correct but lifeless five-paragraph essay to please a teacher and earn an "A" is one thing; losing yourself in a relationship in an effort to be the person your partner wants/needs you to be is another. I am guilty of both. I have even struggled with how to "present" myself on this blog. Do I portray myself as a product of higher education, an experienced pianist and instructor? An artist/craftsperson who makes things with her hands and sells them on Etsy? A semi-vegetarian, a runner, a health nut? A homemaker, a mom, a pet owner? A single woman searching for her soulmate, navigating the minefield of online dating and getting her heart broken occasionally in the process?

The truth is I am ALL of those things. Until recently, I kept certain aspects of myself hidden so as not to offend anyone. But several weeks ago I made the decision to pull off the mask, to tear down the walls, to BE MYSELF, and the response has been gratifying. I did receive one nasty comment in response to my blog post about "Larry" the married guy, which I deleted because it was (1) published anonymously and (2) written so poorly it was almost impossible to respond to.

You can't please all the people all the time, right? I actually raised somebody's shackles. So maybe I am doing something right.

Whether as a writer or as a human being, I have been an overly edited version of myself for far too long. From this moment forward, I am honest, I am authentic, I am ME.

I am free falling. I am walking the plank.

It's a risk I am ready to take.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Water for the World

SeDonna and Me
Saturday my brother, his wife and I participated in the Water for the World Run at Mount Pisgah United Methodist Church in Johns Creek, Georgia. Since 2008, participants in the Water for the World Run have helped New Life International fund water purification systems in Lebanon, Nigeria and Kenya, providing water for up to 100,000 people. To learn more about this ministry or to make a donation, click HERE.

Incidentally, I finished the 5K race in just under 40 minutes - nothing to brag about, really, but I have said all along that my goal isn't to win but merely to FINISH one running event each month in 2012. I'm six for five. So far, so good.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Not for Everyone

Photo courtesy of PublicDomanPictures

When I get lonely these days, I think: so BE lonely, Liz. Learn your way around loneliness. Make a map of it. Sit with it, for once in your life. Welcome to the human experience. But never again use another person's body or emotions as a scratching post for your own unfulfilled yearnings.
~ Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love

* * *

A couple of weeks ago, I found this message in my OKCupid in box.

Wow, caught your profile and had to write. Your (sic) looking fabulous! Are you really over 50?

Captivated as I was by such a charming introduction, I visited this gentleman's profile. This is what I found. Please forgive the errors in spelling as they are not mine.

My self-summary
I'm a married man living in the North Gwinnett area. I am tall, white, educated, and clean. I am seeking discrete relations with married ladies, single moms or mature single ladies. Prefer ladies who are fit and positive.

What I’m doing with my life
I'm a successfull businessman that is looking to share some of his earnings with the right lady. Enjoy nice lunches with friends, shopping, and adult company.

I’m really good at
Various things. Very open-minded, and will work with you to achieve you goals. Experience in many genres.

The first things people usually notice about me
How tall I am...and how comforting I can be during stressfull times. I can ease you concerns with a soft conversation and time spent together.

You should message me if
You are looking for a beneficial, discrete relationship. If you are married, that is great. If you are a single mom, or a young single lady, I can help with some expenses that you may have, but cannot spend endless hours with you, especially nights and weekends.

The journalist in me wanted to know more. I messaged him back, told him I found his profile "intriguing," and asked him for further details. This was his reply.

Thanks for getting back with me. And "thanks" for not judging me on my profile. I just try to be up front, not trying to hurt or deceive anyone.
Yes, I'd like to get to know you. I'm an area business owner, father, husband, coach, and church goer, so you can understand why I don't post alot of pictures on this site. I know alot of single moms (and married ladies!) from the area on here. I'm in a sexless marriage, and can explain more later.
Anyhow, if you're interested in learning more, perhaps we can arrange a meet-and-greet over coffee to see if we have some synergy.

I wasn't exactly sure how a married man could honestly believe that cheating on his wife wouldn't "hurt or deceive anyone," but I had to find out. We arranged a coffee meeting. I waited. And wondered.

On the following Friday, I showed up at Starbucks at our appointed time. I hadn't seen any actual photos of Larry (not his real name) so I had no idea who I was looking for, but he recognized me and introduced himself with a shake of hands. Do you remember Lenny and Squiggy from Happy Days? Imagine Lenny in his mid-50's - same pants, same shirt, with a small paunch and a sagging face. And bad teeth. That was Larry.

He had already purchased his beverage and didn't offer to pick up the tab on my soy chai latte. I wasn't surprised. We took our seats, he checked his watch, and began his spiel. His wife is older and not in the greatest of health, he said. They haven't had sex in years, but they get along well, they are really good friends. And there are children involved. He wants to keep his family together, but he has needs that simply aren't being met. He has no choice, really.

Looking over his shoulder every couple of minutes for people who might recognize him, he informed me that he had had a several-years affair with another woman - a married woman, the ideal partner because she also had something, her own marriage, at risk. But her husband had been transferred so they had moved away from the area, hence his current search. Younger women were often interested in what he had to offer but experience has taught him that an older, mature woman is preferable in his situation - someone who won't come banging on his door at 2AM, demanding time or money. Because nights and weekends are reserved for his family. He has a flexible work schedule, though, so can easily break away during the day for "meetings" without having to explain his whereabouts to anyone. Since I am free weekday mornings, my schedule coincides perfectly with his. And since I have a home of my own, the "where" is also covered.

Besides the obvious pleasure of his company, he continued with a leer, there would be other rewards for me. Although he isn't a wealthy man - in no position to make my house payment, for example, or pay me a monthly stipend - he understands that I am probably on a tight budget. So if there was a special blouse or an expensive pair of shoes that I liked but couldn't afford to buy for myself, he would be happy to help me out from time to time. And I would be free to continue dating. He understood that I might meet someone special no longer wish to see him; he was willing to accept that possibility.

Bile rising in my throat, I watched as Larry took the last swig of his coffee then stood to go. He had another appointment across town, he explained, but hoped I would consider his proposal and be willing to meet with him again the following week to iron out the details.

Later that evening, I received another note from him.

I hope you're having a nice weekend. Thanks for considering the idea of meeting with me further.
I was thinking about this arrangement from your perspective today. I can understand concerns that you might have in disclosing your OWN privacy in this setting. Given the fact that you have a business and two children at home. If it helps in your decision making, I would be fine with arranging meetings in area motels.

Thoughtful, eh?

My research concluded, I wrote him back and said that, although I had found our meeting fascinating and wasn't sure what the future held for me, I know what I DON'T want: an affair with a married man. He thanked me for my honesty, acknowledging that such an arrangement was "not for everyone," and wished me luck in my search.

Husbands and wives, do you know where your spouses are?

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Heart Surgeon, Hero...Husband?

My friend and fellow PFHT blogger Susan Carlisle's debut novel Heart Surgeon, Hero...Husband? tells the story of Hannah Quinn, who learns that her two year old son is in need of a heart transplant. Unfortunately, her best hope lies in the hands of surgeon Scott McIntyre, a man she shares a painful history with. Putting their feelings aside, they forge a partnership for the sake of the young patient and rediscover parts of themselves they thought were lost forever. This well crafted book, sweet but not syrupy, is a quick and satisfying read. Recommended!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Stamped Metal Jewelry

When my kids were small, they enjoyed playing with rubber stamps. Of course, I sat at the kitchen table and stamped right along with them. I especially enjoyed our set of alphabet stamps, using them to put together words in irregular, interesting ways. So when I discovered that similar stamp sets existed for putting letters on metal to create jewelry, I had to give it a try. I signed up for a class at my local bead shop; this was the first piece I ever created.

Metal stamped jewelry is pretty labor-intensive. Each letter is placed individually using a metal stamp and a mallet; patina is added to make the letters "pop" and the excess removed with a buffing cloth. Giving the piece a domed shape is also possible; I did this with the "GRANDMA" and "AUNT" pendants I made for my mom and my sister-in-law at Christmas time, similar to this one I recently made for myself.

That's me.
Finally, I felt that I was ready to hit the big time and work with sterling silver. The prospect was a little daunting; metal stamping is completely unforgiving. One false move and your piece is ruined, and whereas a  one-inch copper disc sells for 70 cents, a one-inch sterling silver disc costs ten times that much.


Well, so far, so good. I made another "GRANDMA" pendant for my mom for Mother's Day

Each grandchild is represented by a crystal birthstone.
and a "NANNY" pendant who special ordered it to give to her own mom on Sunday.

The silver pieces were hard to photograph because they are so very reflective. But this pendant is shaped exactly like the "GRANDMA" pendant.
Then I made a pendant for a friend's birthday to celebrate her accomplishment running her first half marathon this spring; she said it was one of her favorite birthday gifts of all time. That made me feel like a million bucks. Here's a picture of the one I made for myself.

I chose a black crystal because I wear a lot of back. Other options are pearls and crystal birthstones.
I am hooked. I am saving my pennies for a set of alphabet stamps in a fancy font; I have tons of ideas for future projects. To quote Louisa May Alcott, I like good strong words that mean something. And now I can use them to make jewelry that means something.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Fifty Shades of Crazy

Red roses. The traditional symbol of true love.
What is it about me that sends all the crazies flocking to my online dating profiles?


Last Monday, I had a first meeting with a man for breakfast. We had chatted back and forth on OKCupid; the first time we spoke on the phone, we talked for an hour and a half. When we met, it felt as if we had known each other forever. Conversation was effortless; we discovered we had many things in common, large and small.

After breakfast, he professed to be so taken with me that he wanted to meet me again the next day, before he left town for a two-week business trip. I agreed, and after that second meeting he presented me with a dozen red roses and a lovely bar of chocolate. It was like a scene in a romance novel. And we all know how those couples end up, right?

Indeed, our connection seemed magical. That night, he sent me an email  - with the subject line "last love of my life" - in which he exclaimed that he saw me as his "last chance at happiness." At age 68, he is technically old enough to be my father and has a few rather serious health issues; also, since he is a naturalized US citizen so there would be cultural issues to deal with. But this man is brilliant, articulate, well-read, and writes like a poet - the kind of person I have dreamed of spending the rest of my life with. However, since my instincts have been known to fail me when it comes to matters of the heart, I called for an emergency meeting with my two local BFF's. Over wine, Ruffles potato chips and French onion dip, I shared my story with them. They gave me their blessing.

I was in.

The cookie started to crumble Friday night. I logged into OKCupid to check for messages from him; there were none, but when I visited his profile I saw that he had updated it extensively, making it very flirtatious and suggestive, referring to himself as a "playboy" several times. I sent him a message and asked him what was going on; had he changed his mind about me? He followed up with a phone call and reassurances that he had made the changes in a playful response to a suggestion from a female friend of his on the site. He said he meant no harm by it and would take it down if I so desired.

Well, I did.

True to his word, when I checked in Saturday morning, the profile had been updated once again to reflect his status as a "taken" man. He spoke glowingly about me, said he remained on the site only for friendship and so that he wouldn't lose his correspondences with me, and that members should "stay tuned" to learn the details about what was sure to be our happy ending.

But by Saturday evening, he had revamped his profile one more time, loudly proclaiming his status "I'm single again!" and removing all references to a cherished other.

What the what???

This time I called him. He said he didn't understand why I was upset, that it didn't mean a thing, that he simply likes to change his profile up much the way I like to change my hair style or hair color. Just for fun. Because he gets bored.

So much for true love.

* * *

The "dating game" has changed a lot since I first started playing. I have been criticized for referring to it as such, but with experiences like I have had, how could I feel otherwise about it?

Still, I like to think I have learned a thing or two (or three) in the past few months. I will summarize them using the words of others.

The hunger for love is much more difficult to remove than the hunger for bread.
~ Mother Theresa

The first time someone shows you who they are, believe them.
~ Maya Angelou

Your task is not to seek for Love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it. 
~ Rumi

You do not need to be loved, not at the cost of yourself. The single relationship that is truly central and crucial in a life is the relationship to the self. Of all the people you will know in a lifetime, you are the only one you will never lose.
~ Jo Courdert

* * * 

In one of his beautiful letters to me, Lover Boy said the following:

You said something of crucial importance in your notes and in our first marathon conversation. It spoke volumes about your emotional connection with me, something in your voice, the expression of your haunting loneliness, perhaps, even though you laughed nervously to hide it, but my sixth sense picked it up within five seconds of our conversation...What I picked up...was a fear on your part that you don't deserve to be happy in love...You said you had several relationships but things would not work out at the end. Why? 

I guess that is the question.

And I am the only one who can find the answer.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

INHALE by Kendall Grey

I met author Kendall Grey through Georgia Romance Writers; she is one cool chick. So when she started looking for reviewers for her upcoming book release, Inhale (the first title in the Just Breathe trilogy), I was happy to volunteer.

The thing is, Inhale is a paranormal romance, a genre I don't typically read. Also, I had never read any of my pal's writing before. I was prepared to struggle through the voodoo and write a polite review. The End.

Was I in for a surprise! This book was absolutely delicious. I couldn't gobble it up fast enough.

Here is the cover blurb:

After years of suffocating under her boss’s scrutiny, whale biologist Zoe Morgan finally lands a job as director of a tagging project in Hervey Bay, Australia. Success Down Under all but guarantees her the promotion of a lifetime, and Zoe won’t let anything—or anyone—stand in her way. Not the whale voices she suddenly hears in her head, not the ex who won’t take no for an answer, and especially not the gorgeous figment of her imagination who keeps saving her from the fiery hell of her dreams.

Gavin Cassidy hasn’t been called to help a human Wyldling in over a year, which is fine by him. Still blaming himself for the death of his partner, he keeps the guilt at bay by indulging in every excess his rock star persona affords. That is, until he’s summoned to protect Zoe from hungry Fyre Elementals and learns his new charge is the key to restoring order in the dying Dreaming. He never expects to fall for the feisty Dr. Morgan…nor does he realize he may have to sacrifice the woman he loves to save an entire country.

Zoe and Gavin are complex and believable, and the supernatural world Kendall creates seemed just as real to me as the one I live in myself. And the writing is superb; Kendall's voice is like no one else's. This book is raw, haunting, sexy and sophisticated. Once you start reading you won't be able to stop. Guaranteed.

And here's the icing on the cake: Kendall is donating all profits from the sale of the Just Breathe trilogy to whale education. Here is a video in which the author details the experiences that led to her writing Inhale.

Available in paperback, Nook, and Kindle formats, Inhale contains graphic language, sex and some violence and is not suitable for readers under the age of 18. Highly recommended for everyone else!