An Author Interview with Connie Stephany

Connie Stephany is a Chick Lit Author. Her works are Second Chances, she was also included in An April Fools Day Anthology, Fools Rush In, and her second book, Third Strike will come out on December 2015. So watch out. 😉

I want to first send my Congratulations to her because her book, Second Chances is a Finalist for the 2015 National Indie Excellence and with 4.5 out of 5 star rates and 54 reviews, and her book, Fools Rush In is an Amazon Bestseller with 4 out of 5 star rates and 74 reviews.

From her emails, I gathered she’s nice, cool, and such a funny lady.
Here’s what she has to say for herself.

CL: How did you come up with the idea for Second Chances?
It’s funny, it morphed from an old crush who came back in real life (similar to what happened with my hubby and me) and the added spice of a second guy because who wouldn’t want a choice between two hot men?

One thing led to another and the story morphed into the two men from her past going after one woman and a choice needed to be made.

CL: How did you choose the title? 
I wanted something to best portray the story and just thought it fit. I do partially regret my choice because there are thousands of books with that title, but I guess I wouldn’t change it because it is exactly the title that fits.

CL: Who is your favorite character in your book and why? My favorite person is Colleen, Abby’s best friend.

She reminds me of my real best friend whom I’ve had for over 25 years. We got into lots of troubles together and we still love to hang out as often as possible.

Colleen was always there for Abby when her heart was broken and many other times.  Abby was there for her too with the wedding and bachelorette party.  By the way those stories with Colleen were real-life stories such as the bachelorette party and the “hairing” of Charlie’s yard.

Friends are something that is so very important!

Colleen has her own short story called “Fooled Around and Fell in Love” in a short story anthology called “Fools Rush In”. You should check it out as it’s free on Kindle, Nook and Itunes!

Buy links can be found here: www.conniestephanybooks.com

CL: Describe your writing process.
1. Plan out the chapters and characters, the main story, write chapter summaries and then just dig in.  I change things as I go.
2. I then reread it
3. Edit story, trash parts, add more background, add fluff, remove pieces
4. Repeat step 3 approximately 150 times
5. My sisters beta read it along with a couple other beta readers.
6. My sisters read it out loud with me and I edit on the fly.
7.  Incorporate all beta reader feedback.
8.  Send to the editor.
9.  After getting edits back, I incorporate those.
10.  Then have my beta readers and editor re-read.

After that, it needs formatting for print, kindle, nook and Itunes (because they are all different formats).

It’s a LOT of work.

CL: Who are some authors who have influenced you? 
I love Sophie Kinsella. My favorite book of hers is “Can You Keep a Secret”.  I have read it about 20 times and laugh every time.

My other inspiration is Colleen Hoover. She’s an amazing story-teller and started as an indie writer too. Now she has 9 novels, is having a movie made of one of her novels.

She is living my dream.

CL: What made you want to become an Author?
I have been reading since a young girl. I ate novels for breakfast, lunch and dinner. About 10 or so years ago I decided I had several stories to tell!

In fact, my next book to be published after Third Strike will be about a minor character in my second novel who is Jennifer’s best friend. I wrote the book 10 years ago and needs some modifications, but I laughed when reading it after finding it hidden on a bookshelf. It has red marks all over so it’s even already ready for editing.

CL: What advice would you give to other aspiring writers?
1. Don’t give up!
2. Hire an editor. I did not do that for Second Chances and regret it. However, I have learned a TON so it has shown in my next novel, Third Strike, about the guy Abby doesn’t choose in Second Chances.
3. Tell everyone about it!
4. Do book signings. These have been quite popular for me.
5. Join Author FaceBook
Groups – they can be most helpful!

And that concludes our interview.
Again, if you want to know more about her life and her work, save her links below:
Website: www.conniestephanybooks.com
Twitter: @cesstephany
Amazon: Connie Stephany

An Author Interview with Mika Jolie

Mika Jolie is a Women’s Fiction, Chick Lit and Contemporary Romance Author from New Jersey with her husband and their two children. Her other interests are gardening, hiking with a camera slung on her shoulder, and knitting.

She is a woman with a passion for life.

Her published works were The Scale, Need You Now, and Tattooed Hearts called the Martha’s Way series.

Here’s my interview with Mika below.

CL: How did you come up with the idea for Minka?

Minka is actually based on several events that occurred in my life. One was a conversation I overheard in the gym between two very thin women complaining about their weight and there’s one of my closest friends who had a long battle with her weight.

CL: How did you choose the title?

(Laughs) Well, The Scale makes sense. I know it’s not a typical romance title, but The Scale fit. I was actually asked to change it by someone and I said no.

CL: Who is your favorite character in your book and why?

There’s a piece of me in each one of them. I don’t know if I can say favorite, but I can say who is more like me and that would be Lily.

CL: Describe your writing process.

I have an admission, I can’t start a story until I have the title. Weird, I know. Then I need to understand my characters, their personalities. Once I have those two, I can start writing.

CL: Who are some authors who have influenced you?

I have an eclectic taste. Anita Shreve and Truman Capote are two of my favorite authors. I have a thing for Bella Andre as well, Nora Roberts, Maya Angelou. So many.

CL: What made you want to become an Author?

I’ve been writing for a very long time. I’ve always loved books. I just love bringing characters to life and have a reader connect with one of my stories.

CL: What advice would you give to other aspiring writers?

Stay true to yourself and don’t be generic.

CL: Thank you.

Mika: Thanks so much for the questions.

Where to get information and to follow her: Website, Facebook, and Twitter

Soul Mates: Scent by Elizabeth A. Lance

Soul Mates: Scent is written by the author Elizabeth A. Lance. It is the second book of the Soul Mate Series. If you want to find out more about her and her other books, click here.

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Soul Mates: Scent is about a guy leaving a simple life, Max Fergus. One day, he met a woman, Anna, who seemed to captivate him despite knowing her for only a day. It turned out that Max is not the person he thinks he is. The only way to get the answers to his questions lies with Anna and family secrets his mom and dad had kept from everyone.

When I read this book. I couldn’t put it down. I love the characters. In fact, I picked this book because I love soul mate stories. The book surprised me because of the characters and their world. It is clever writing. The plots and twists are unpredictable and that’s the kind of stories that entertained me the most.

Strengths:
Vivid Images – Elizabeth Lance wrote the story as if it’s happening in front of me. I love the magical kingdom of the Fae, the possibilities in the Fae world, time controlling I wish I could have that, and the flashing.

Characterization – The characters are realistic and not forced, especially the relationship between Anna and Max. I also love their connection Tony is a great character as well. I love Max’s crew who helped them fight the antagonist. Their varieties really helped the story. The characters are new to me. This is the first time I read characters about them. The world they’re moving in to is so flexible. I say that because Anna and Max are different and similar from each other. I also love how the supporting character are not like fodders or feelers in the story. They have their own personality and uniqueness.

Family Issues – At first, I thought that the family won’t play a role on the book, but I was wrong. I love that the conflicts and misunderstandings in the past were resolved and how it somehow foreshadowed the next book.

Weakness:
Builds a little slow – The build up was a little slow for me but it made me like I can’t wait for the climax of the story to happen.

Soul mates – I love soul mates and I’ve been studying them for years. I understand well the dynamics of a relationship like that. It’s a little too perfect for me like they hardly had any conflict on the book, they got along the whole time.

Anna – I love her personality and how she’s never out of character. I love her speaking French too, but her lines should have been translated.

Conclusion

If you’re looking for a book with adventure, action, fantasy, and romance, I recommend you all to read this book. It will bring you to a different and you wouldn’t want it to end. It also gives us some idea to the unending conflict between the Fae and the Unseelie. It got me excited to read the next book. I just wish I got to read the first book but of course, you can still enjoy the book without reading the first.

Why is there a Mental Illness Stigma?

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Mental Health is a dear topic to me. I was bullied for more than ten years of my life, and I told myself, I want to understand why people do what they do. It became more important to me back in 2009 when I felt physically and emotionally threatened by someone unexpected.

That experience shook me and traumatized me for a long time. Until I became angry and told myself that if I ever got hurt again, I will hurt them too and make sure they regret it. That is bad, and I realized I have a problem and I need help. I was still in college and decided to ask help from one of my professors and she passed it on to the guidance counselor. At that time, I was already deep in my studies of personalities and mental illnesses. I started reading about human behavior, mental health, mental illnesses at the ripe age of fourteen years old, but I didn’t understand them fully. Attending the sessions made me realize and appreciate how important and how helpful to have someone to talk to who does not judge you and instead empowers you and informs you of your options.

I’ve always known that the stigma on mental illness existed ever since I was young. I’ve read it on the papers, I’ve watched it on TV series and movies.

My guidance counselor who is a dear friend to me up to now, called one of my guardians and suggested psychological testing. When we got home, my guardian told me, you are not sick right cause we can’t afford it. I may not have the physical signs, but it doesn’t mean it should be overlooked.

My guardian was in denial and maybe so was I because I answered back, no, I wasn’t sick. I honestly don’t know what state of mind I was back then. But I started sessions with the guidance counselor until I graduated and a few sessions more until I found a job.

So why is there a Mental Illness Stigma?

Why is it that people stigmatizes mental illness and not physical illness. After all , they are both normal conditions that someone experiences from time to time and can recover from them. In Addition to that, Health is defined as a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.

Before we answer that question and before we try to produce a solution for that problem, let us first go back on where the Mental Illness Stigma started.

The Mental Illness Stigma started years ago. We are not even born yet. It is the time where people are misinformed about Mental Health and Mental Illness. At that time, once they found out that you have a mental illness, they sent you away to an isolated place or island to rot or worst. The mental patients were always treated differently and poorly. People were still in the dark back then.

Several years later, scientists were able to study mental illness and wrote the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Text Revision, Edition Four (DSM-IV-TR). Even though, our government, economy, technology, and science had grown, why is it that mental illness stigma still exists?

In my opinion there are so many reasons I could choose from:

First, it is a learned behavior. Research suggests that the majority of people hold negative attitudes and stereotypes towards people with mental illness. From a young age children will refer to others as “crazy” or “weird”; these terms are used commonly throughout adulthood as well. Often the negative stereotypes involve perceptions that people with mental illness are dangerous. (Psych Today)

No matter how great our improvements are compared to our ancestors, we learned to stigmatize and believe that people with mental illnesses are dangerous people, they are crazy, weird, and you can never recover from the illness. And when they have you committed, people also started to believe that mental illness makes you weak, not good enough, and they will take away your rights. This situation rarely happens, not all your rights are taken and it only does when you are a danger to yourself and the others.

Second, it is influenced by how the media portrays people with mental illness. Take a look at the picture below.

Basing it from the photo, I know that there are so many mass shootings that are caused by mentally ill people. But not all mentally ill people kill people.

According to Psych Today on Mental Illness Stigma, This perception is fueled by media stories that paint violent perpetrators as “mentally ill” without providing the context of the broad spectrum of mental illness. This bias is not limited to people who are either uninformed or disconnected from people with mental illness; in fact health care providers and even some mental health professionals hold these very same stereotypes.

The coverage on mental patients and some mental health professionals treating mental patients were immature several years ago, but fortunately they have matured and grown all these years when it comes to reporting news and treating mental illness. It’s a pretty delicate topic that should be handled with utmost care. No media has the right to add fuel to the fire of stigma. In fact, since people count media for news and information, the media should be the top accurate and reliable source of information. It shouldn’t be biased. The media and medically allied personnels have a responsibility to inform the unenlightened ones.

Third, we are in our modern times where people care more about what others think. What others think affects their,the people’s reputations. In our time, we put value more on how other people perceives us and we care more about losing those followers, those strangers. Which is also a learned behavior that we get from high school, and from what we watch. In those five hundred followers, we can bet that only 50 of them are your real life friends, and only three or five of them are close to you, the rest are superficial. We are more scared of others judging us and shaming us for having mental illness. Mental illness is like how people are acting when Leprosy doesn’t have a cure yet and just like in the Bible.

Due to our contribution to the mental illness stigma, we also fail to realize the negative effects of that stigma to people suffering from mental illness.

  • When we have a problem, we fail to recognize it and admit it. Majority of the people suffering from mental illness don’t believe mental illness is real. They think it’s just in their heads and that it will just go away on it’s own.
  • When we shame and judge people from being mentally ill, we scare them from coming forward in admitting they have a problem and that they need help. That’s the most crucial part they have to start the process before they recover.
  • They withdraw from family and friends because they believe they can do it on their own and they don’t want to be judged and shamed by their loved ones. Having mental illness is like having a war with yourself and other departments on your head. That’s where you need consistent and unwavering support and understanding from the people in your life.
  • Mass shootings and other incidents. If they have gotten treatments right away and free of shame and judgment from other people. Instead of just blaming them after they’ve done something, we could have prevented them if we knew right away that our friend or relative is mentally ill and is capable of hurting himself and other people, but we couldn’t. They show signs of mental illness, we ignore it and don’t do something. We just tell them get over it, then we just expect it will go away. Is that the only thing we’re good at blaming, sending thoughts and prayers, have pictures with the survivors, and then doing nothing?

So with that in mind, let’s establish that we are no longer primitive, we are evolved humans, with an evolved and improved government policies and administration, economy, and technology. It is definitely the time for us to start acting smart by facing the problem about mental illness stigma instead of cowering for fear of being judged, shamed, and abandoned.

Our minds and our hearts needs to catch up with all of our medical breakthroughs in life, we shouldn’t dumb ourselves down and just shut up in the corner to avoid judgments and losing followers. We need to stand up and be the guide of those people who are lost and with weak morals on mental illness, we need to move forward by studying what mental illness really is and give awareness to stop all those misconceptions.

So how do we remove the mental illness stigma?

We remove it through mental illness education. So below are some of the basic information you need to know.

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Mental Health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood.

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Mental Illness refers to a wide range of mental health conditions — disorders that affect your mood, thinking and behavior. Examples of mental illness include depression, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, eating disorders and addictive behaviors.

Many people have mental health concerns from time to time. But a mental health concern becomes a mental illness when ongoing signs and symptoms cause frequent stress and affect your ability to function.

A mental illness can make you miserable and can cause problems in your daily life, such as at school or work or in relationships. In most cases, symptoms can be managed with a combination of medications and talk therapy (psychotherapy).

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Mental Wellness According to World Health Organization, mental health is a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.

So what else can you do to remove the stigma on mental illness?

I invite you to help me by educating the misinformed on our networking sites on Twitter and Instagram every Saturday by sharing relate-able quotes, information, and news about mental illness using the hashtag #removingmentalillnessStigma. I invite especially those influential people whose got a voice, who’s got more reach and who’s influence can make a difference for the good of the many. Let’s help each other out, let’s help the people suffering from mental illness, let’s lift up and improve th mental health perception of the people starting on March 24, 2018 at Pacific Time 08:00 AM until the day ends. It doesn’t have to be the whole day, you can participate on your free time.

30 Things I Wish I’d Known 14 Years Ago

I’ve been planning to write this post for a long time and I dreaded writing it too. I can’t believe I’m writing this post now because it would mean I’m past the age of 30. For me being over 30 means – being an adult, I should have accomplishments and I should be equipped with experiences and hardships that will help me solve problems or get through challenges in the future.

Why did I fear writing this post?

Because I made a lot of plans that I told myself I want to accomplish before I turn 31. Those plans didn’t work out the way I planned them, but I’m okay, and at least I’m on the right track now. I’m only listening to my own drum. I’m doing what I should have done five years ago. All these years, I gathered experiences, and hardships that taught me a lot and made me grow to the person I am now.

So here are the things I learned for 30 years that I wish I’d known before I got into college.

1) Decide for yourself or they will. I learned this the hard way. I learned it when it’s already too late and I’ve wasted already more than ten years of my life. This is very  heartbreaking for me and you have no idea how many times I’ve beat myself up for this. When I was younger I told myself, I will let my parents decide for me, but I will not let them interfere with myself. Eck! Wrong! Big mistake! I know myself better than my parents, I shouldn’t have let them decide my career for me. I should have listened to my heart desires than consider what they want for me. You need to decide for yourself, or you will have regrets, and you won’t be happy with your life.

2) Control your life. It won’t be easy I’m sure, but as you grow older you become equipped to handle more problems. De-clutter your life with things you don’t want and need, so you can focus on your goal such as becoming a doctor, or a screenwriter. Don’t do other things that won’t serve your goal and your purpose.

3) Build your dreams, or someone else will hire you to build theirs. I will apply this to my experience back in 2011. I should have focused on completing that story I entered in the Nanowrimo writing competition after assisting my cousin with her thesis. That heartbreak paralyze me and triggered the dark side of me. One thing I’ll always remember and look back on because on that day is I also found the people who sees my dream as important as oppose to people who don’t. My cousin, she deserves what she’s got in her life because she’s determined, hardworking, and she didn’t give up on her dreams. While I gave up on that writing competition when one of my Aunts told me that what my cousin is doing is important.

4) Surround yourself with positive kind people. It all goes without saying that negative people, attracts negative things, and everything they will tell you is that you can’t do this, you can’t do that, for a number of reasons. They may know the odds, and the statistics, but they don’t know you, they don’t know the core of your heart, the degree of your passion, the depths of your soul, and the extent of your will.

5) Be kind. You can never go wrong with kindness. We all have our own crosses to bear. We’re all going through something hard. Receiving some act of kindness can lessen that burden at some point, and at some point. Or it could mean the world to someone who is on a breaking point.

6) Families don’t hold you back, they lift you up. Family doesn’t always have to be blood. So keep those people around you who lifts you up and supports you and loves you at your ugliest and crappiest time. And ignore those who are just there for you when you’re in the highest and happiest point of your life.

7) Forgive seventy times seven. If you live your life being angry, you can never move forward. It’s like living everyday with a body full of poison. Your interaction with other people, with your job and how you see life is also affected by that poison. You will hurt other people, you might make mistakes on your job, and you will never get to enjoy life because of your views. However, if your body, mind, heart and soul is clear. You will have good relationships, you will perform well on your job, and you will get to enjoy life.

8) The most important relationship you have in life is the relationship you have with yourself. ~Diane von Furstenberg. The fact is I’ve wasted some years of my life being a victim of bullying and being a pushover. The bullying, I didn’t fought any of them because I thought those people are a waste of my time, but I should have defended myself at some point. As for being a pushover, I should have been more firm and assertive of what I wanted in life. I should have taken care of myself, my wants and needs. My professor once told us in our Ethics class, “You are your own best friend.” So listen to that inner voice or your inner goddess (haha..), and do what you need to do.

9) You can never figure out who you are, and you can never reach your potential, if you don’t leave your hometown. I’ve always wished, I worked harder to fly away and spread my wings, like that song Break Away by Kelly Clarkson. I know for sure now, that I’ll be more useful and productive, if I leave the current life I’m living for good. I’ve been here for the past 30 years and it ain’t productive and great at all. The people I’ve known had spread their wings and are having the time of their life.

10) Everyone makes mistakes, but learn from them, then let go. This is one of my weakest. It’s always hard for me to let go of my mistakes. I often punish myself for my mistakes like I don’t deserve to be happy or even celebrate my birthday because I’m such a loser, and I made so many mistakes. Well, I realized that my mistakes won’t define my whole life and I do remember and know for sure that I’ve done more good things in my life. It’s just that in our world, families and friends, even strangers remember and focus more on your mistakes more than the good things you’ve done.

11) We all don’t know everything. This is a very good advice for me because I tend to be a know-it-all most of the time. I’ve learned along the way that I should never share my opinion if nobody asked it and vice versa. If I don’t ask you, don’t tell me. Instead learn to listen. Listening will help you learn and understand more the situation and the people around you.

12) You cannot be right all the time. This is a very big part of my personality. I always want to be right, but I am just not right all the time. And it’s okay. Being wrong sometimes, it’s an opportunity to learn something new.

13) Being an adult means not having the last word. Remember all those petty debates and arguments you had with someone? Avoid them, and let them have the last word. A birthday is our physical age. There is a term called mental age. You can never win an argument with someone who’s got a different mental age as you. Why? Because that younger person is also not equipped yet with experiences, and understanding that will make them grow and mature. They are just not equipped yet to understand you. If they are older than you, you are just not equipped yet to understand them. So don’t do it, it’s a waste of time. Our physical age is different with our mental age.

14) Never change anyone to become like you. We are unique people. This came from Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP). Memories, words, and thoughts means differently to us. We have our own truth, upbringing, and world view. So never force your experience, your truth, your way, your belief on anyone. We can only inspire, and motivate, but don’t impose. Don’t be self-centered and say that your way is the best way and the mature way. It’s just not. It’s a fact of life that we have our own ways always, but of course, we do collaborate with other people from time to time.

15) Don’t be afraid to be yourself, to be different, and to be weird. I am such a late bloomer because I was so afraid to be myself. I mean there were times, I could be myself, but I have more experiences of hiding myself because I’m afraid my family won’t approve and I will get bullied in school. Being myself, being different and being weird is very hard for me. Expressing myself is very hard for me. Because I’ve been bullied most of my life and there were a lot of moments at home where I showed my true self, and it was frowned upon by my parents. One of the reasons why I prefer to be alone.

16) Be open minded. This is like a continuation of #14. Each of us have our own point of view or world view, and perspective. We should be respectful of other people’s perspective. Being able to understand and have more perspective than yours is a path to enlightenment and more ways to solve problems and go through challenges.

17) Family over money or your job always. I have a dream, but I’ve always promised myself that I will make time for family because I don’t want to miss the important moments. I love the idea of doing my dream for the rest of my life, but I can also be a full time mom. I heard from a close friend in college before that they hate the idea of giving up their work to become a mother. First and foremost, giving up work doesn’t always mean forever. Those children will grow, and you have to go back to work again or you can do both. I know a lot of people doing both and are great in it.

18) Focus your mind on what’s important and you will get your goal, your dream. Our brain has a delete button to clear our minds, clean it and make it easier for us to function or use our brain. It’s like gardening. If you think more of what’s important to you like your job or your dream, it will get enough water and oxygen, and the ones you don’t think about or use less, are the weeds that our brain will clean. So if you focus your mind on getting revenge on someone rather than your studies or your job, well, now you know why you failed or why you lost that job.

19) Have true friends rather than having a goal of 10,000 Twitter and Instagram followers. True friends are the ones who were there for you through thickness and thin. The ones who listen and give you advice, and vice versa. And most of all the ones who helps you become a better person, the best version of yourself, and the ones who helps and teaches you to grow. I will always choose to have one true friend rather than have a hundred fake friends.

 20) Don’t be a victim of circumstances. Whatever bad happened to you, don’t play the victim for the rest of your life. Pick yourself up, dust yourself, take control of your life and move forward to the life that you want and the goal you want to attain. This is also one advice that I needed to be knock over my head a thousand times before I finally got it. Maybe I still need to knock myself with this sometime.

21) Have boundaries. This is something I should have learned ever since I was a little girl. If you don’t have boundaries, people will take advantage of you. If you don’t have boundaries, you’ll end up focusing on others’ need other than yourself.

22) Learn to say “No”. You need to say no, and understand that you don’t have any obligation or responsibility to say yes to them. Saying no, means you have something on your plate, and other people should respect and understand that. In real life, no means no. Besides the last thing you want is blaming someone else for what you did because you said yes to them even if you don’t mean it. Saying no is not an offense to them as well. You won’t lose friends by saying no. If you lose them, they’re not real friends in the first place.

23) Admit you’re wrong and live the consequences. If you’re the kind of kid who was raised to blame other people or their situation, stop it right now and understand this. You make your own decisions, so be responsible enough to live the consequences and don’t blame others. This is unproductive. It will destroy your sensibility, credibility and your relationship with other people.

24) No matter how much you love your job, have time for family and friends. These last few days, I just told myself that I want to give all my time to writing. Then I flashback to the 2012 movie. The author in the movie lost his wife and his children because he’s too busy with his writing. So I changed my belief to that first sentence. Never lose those relationships and if you don’t have one, make some friends. Your job is important, but your family is more important.

25) Have your time alone. A lot of people don’t understand this and mistook it for being snobbish, being selfish, being choosy with friends and more. I have a friend who used to think that being alone makes you look pathetic. I told her being alone, allows me to do what I want to do, have great ideas, and to recharge myself. Having a time alone is an opportunity for a reality check, meditation, spiritual enlightenment, and a chance to listen to our inner voice. It is a chance to grow. Check out this TED talk. I’m an introvert. I think a lot. I contemplate. Most important of all, I meditate. I listen and observe people. I can enjoy quality time with friends and family, but my time alone is very important to me. In our time now, especially with the social media and the millenials, being alone equates to being an out cast and not part of a cool group. So what?

26) Live with the best version of yourself. I’ve met a lot of fangirls and boys who worships those actors like their Gods. I’m a fangirl too but I never said I want to be Scully, Tauriel, Tracy Strauss, Gretchen Lowell,or Zelena (Women I’ve like from books, shows and movies). Instead, I said I want to be like them. They are strong, beautiful, smart, powerful, influential, sweet, and caring and yet badass at the same time (except Gretchen Lowell). My life doesn’t depend on them and it shouldn’t. They are my inspiration and motivation to become the best version of myself and to pursue my calling. Live for you and not for those actors. That’s how life is meant to be.

27) Love is a choice. Growing up, I’ve romanticize love so much. If you read my blog it’s quite obvious how I’m such a hopeless romantic. I believe in chemistry, compatibility, lovemap, and more but yes love is a choice. Our relationship starts, ends, and lasts as a choice. We don’t just choose someone because of chemistry, it’s a matter of life and death, compatibility, and because of our lovemap. We choose the person we think and believe is the right one for us. A relationship will end or will last if we choose to stay.

28) Don’t wait for the perfect moment, take the moment and make it perfect. I was always the opposite of this quote and I’ve realized that my belief is wrong. If I keep waiting for the perfect moment, life, chances, opportunities and people will pass me by.

29) Approach everything with childish enthusiasm. We live in such a fast-paced life that we don’t have time to enjoy the little things like a sunrise, a sunset, or a blooming flower. We need to enjoy each day and live in the moment. You don’t know when you’re going to have that moment again. This is one of my favorite moments from Under the Tuscan Sun. “Never lose your childish enthusiasm and things will come your way.”

30) Give yourself a break. As a child, I always believed that being an adult is being serious all the time. All work and no play. Now as an adult, I realized that we need our childishness to last being an adult. According to a research, a person who doesn’t take a vacation gets burn out and becomes less productive to the company. While a person who goes on a vacation, will come back to the company fresh, full of ideas and more productive to the company. If we take our lives so seriously all the time, we might get committed. Trust me, I’ve had my moments..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Myth of Hades and Persephone

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When I was young, I’ve been reading and watching about Greek Mythology. However, it was only in grade school, that I encountered the story about Hades and Persephone. I love the fact that they stayed loyal to each other no matter what.

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PERSEPHONE was the goddess queen of the underworld, wife of the god Haides (Hades). She was also the goddess of spring growth, who was worshipped alongside her mother Demeter in the Eleusinian Mysteries. This agricultural-based cult promised its initiates passage to a blessed afterlife.

Persephone was titled Kore (Core) (the Maiden) as the goddess of spring’s bounty. The name Persephone means murder or to destroy and in other references the one who eats the light.

In other myths, Persephone appears exclusively as the queen of the underworld, receiving the likes of Herakles and Orpheus at her court.

Persephone was usually depicted as a young goddess holding sheafs of grain and a flaming torch. Sometimes she was shown in the company of her mother Demeter, and the hero Triptolemos, the teacher of agriculture. At other times she appears enthroned beside Haides.

Persephone’s Personality

Persephone is extroverted, curious, joyful, bright and sees the goodness in everyone. She can empathize with others easily. She is loving, caring, but feisty, strong and firm at the same time. She is also well-behaved due to Demeter’s strict upbringing. She is innocent and somehow wise beyond her age. She is elegant, confident and a formidable woman. She can see and understand things that surprises the Gods and Goddesses around her. Through her marriage with Hades, she became more confident and a woman of strength. Hades eventually became friend, her motivator, her anchor and her pillar of strength.

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HAIDES (Hades) was the king of the underworld and god of the dead. He presided over funeral rites and defended the right of the dead to due burial. Haides was also the god of the hidden wealth of the earth, from the fertile soil with nourished the seed-grain, to the mined wealth of gold, silver and other metals.

Haides was depicted as a dark-bearded, regal god. He was depicted as either Aidoneus, enthroned in the underworld, holding a bird-tipped sceptre, or as Plouton (Pluton), the giver of wealth, pouring fertility from a cornucopia. The Romans named him Dis, or Pluto, the Latin form of his Greek title Plouton, “the Lord of Riches.”

He is also known as Zeus Melichios and Snake God. It is due to this moniker (Zeus Melichios) that made others believed Zues had children with Persephone. It was said that Hades ravished Persephone under the guise of the snake and where she gave birth to twins Melinoe (Goddess of Ghosts, daughter of Hades and Persephone) and Zagreus (God of hunting and rebirth, son of Hades and Persephone). Makaria (Goddess of blessed death, daughter of Hades and Persephone) is another child of Hades with Persephone. Then there’s Ploutus, which is said to be Hades or Zeus son, but some sources say that he is the son of Demeter and Persephone’s younger brother. There isn’t enough information about him though.

Hades Personality

Hades is introverted, calm, cool, collected, confident, and will stop at nothing to get what he wants. He likes being feared by others and has a morbid personality. He is strict when it comes to the souls in the underworld. He is handsome, dark, brooding and mysterious. He doesn’t like the other souls bypassing their punishments while other souls are paying for their sins. He doesn’t like breaking the natural order of things such as life and death. After marrying Persephone, her influence made him a god that benefited the mortals. She brightened up his life and the underworld. Mortals began to see him as a giver of grain, minerals, and other necessities produced from the earth.

How did Hades fell in love with Persephone?

Before Hades and Persephone fell in love, the fates Cloho, Lachesis and Atropos threaded Hades and Persephone lives together. 

Here’s how Hades fell in love:

Ovid, Metamorphoses 5. 363 ff (trans. Melville) (Roman epic C1st B.C. to C1st A.D.) :

“Tyrannus [Haides] had left his dark domains to and fro, drawn in his chariot and sable steeds, inspected the foundations of the isle [of Sicily]. His survey done, and no point found to fail, he put his fears aside; when, as he roamed, Erycina [Venus-Aphrodite], from her mountain throne, saw him and clasped her swift-winged son, and said : ‘Cupido [Eros], my child, my warrior, my power, take those sure shafts with which you conquer all, and shoot your speedy arrows to the heart of the great god to whom the last lot fell when the three realms were draw. Your majesty subdues the gods of heaven and even Jove [Zeus], subdues the Gods of the Sea and him, even him, [Poseidon] who rules the Gods of the Sea. Why should Tartara (Hell) lag behind? Why not there too extend your mother’s empire and your own? The third part of the world’s at stake, while we in heaven (so long-suffering!) are despised–my power grows less, and less the power of Amor [Eros]. Do you not see how Pallas [Athena] and Diana [Artemis], queen of the chase, have both deserted me? And Ceres'[Demeter’s] daughter [Persephone], if we suffer it, will stay a virgin too–her hope’s the same. So for the sake of our joint sovereignty, if that can touch your pride, unite in love that goddess [Persephone] and her uncle [Haides].’ So she spoke. Then Cupido, guided by his mother, opened his quiver and of all his thousand arrows selected one, the sharpest and the surest, the arrow most obedient to the bow, and bent the pliant horn against his knee and shot the barbed shaft deep in Dis’ [Haides’] heart.

The myth of Hades and Persephone also has different versions. The one below is close to my greek mythology book at home and other references.

In this one Demeter was present when Persephone was kidnapped by God Hades but was tricked by Zeus and Hades.

That morning when Demeter descended on Earth with her daughter Persephone , she left her to play with the sea nymphs called Nereids and the Naiads who were the freshwater nymphs of the lakes, springs and rivers.

Demeter went to supervise her bountiful crops. As Persephone engaged in play and with the rest of the group, her attention fell upon the potently fragrant valley nearby and she couldn’t take her eyes of the yellow flower narcissus. She called upon her playmates to accompany her, but they couldn’t possibly go with her as leaving the side of their water bodies would result in their death.

The flower Narcissus was planted there by Gaia, who was following the orders of Zeus. The goal was to enchant Persephone and attract her, away from her guides.

So, Persephone danced her way to the garden alone and tried to pluck the narcissus from the bosom of Gaia. It drained her energies as the narcissus only came out after a lot of pulling. But suddenly, to her utter fright, she saw the tiny hole from which she had drawn out the flower shaft, began to rapid grow in size until it started to resemble a mighty enormous chasm.

From this came the vigorous galloping sounds of multiple horses and such sudden happenings only froze the frail beauty to her feet. Out of all her friends only the naiad Cyane tried to rescue the crying Persephone but she was no match for the powerful Hades. Bereaving her friend’s kidnap, Cyane melted into a pool of tears and formed the river Cyane at the spot.

Persephone’s mother, Demeter, begged her brother Hades to allow Persephone to come back to the livings, denoting that the young Persephone was not supposed to live in the underworld. Hades consulted with Zeus and they both decided to allow Persephone to live on earth for six months each year, while the rest of the time she would be on his side in the Underworld.

Band Persephone is associated with the coming of Spring and Winter: When Persephone comes to the Earth, it’s springtime. When she descends to Hades, it is winter.

WHAT HADES OFFERED PERSEPHONE IN THE UNDERWORLD ACCORDING TO THE HOMERIC HYMN TO DEMETER

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360 “Go, Persephone, to your mother, the one with the dark robe.

Have a kindly disposition and thûmos in your breast.

Do not be too upset, excessively so.

I will not be an unseemly husband to you, in the company of the immortals.

I am the brother of Zeus the Father. If you are here,

365 you will be queen of everything that lives and moves about,

and you will have the greatest tîmai in the company of the immortals.

Those who violate dikê will get punishment for all days to come

—those who do not supplicate your menos with sacrifice,

performing the rituals in a reverent way, executing perfectly the offerings that are due.”

370 So he spoke. And high-minded Persephone rejoiced.

Hades abducted Persephone but this is how he treated her in the Underworld. She was well taken cared of, she is Hades’ equal in power and made her the respected Queen of the Underworld. Hades treated her as an adult contrary to the sheltered life Demeter gave her. Demeter is overprotective with Persephone to the point that she forbids her to explore so much but Persephone has a very curious personality. Even as she aged, Demeter had dressed her as a child making sure to keep her in her side.

Persephone was afraid of Hades but slowly those fears diminished because was the only who with the opportunity to see Hades’ soft side. She got to know him and found that he is sincere with his love to her, he is patient and he treats her as her equal. He waited on her hand and foot and treated her as an adult woman to be cared and wanted which made her appreciate and fall in love with him.

As Hades gave her the pomegranate seeds, she was fully aware that anyone who eats the food of the underworld should stay they there even a Goddess. She ate six seeds knowing she was bounding herself to him. For she was intrigued of being a queen and she enjoyed her freedom from her mother and position as a queen. She realized that the underworld, the souls, the other Gods and especially Hades needs her, needs her light. Still, she misses her mother and her previous life. As an adult woman she accepted and embraced her fate. Considering the fact, that yes she lived a sheltered life but through Demeter’s over protectiveness of her that she taught Persephone everything to make sure she will be careful.

STOCKHOLM SYNDROME?

Persephone may have been afraid the first few days, but her experience wasn’t enough to psychologically trauma her and made her desperate to the point of thinking that Hades is her only way to live. She may be innocent and naive, but she’s strong and defiant or resilient as a Goddess. Surprisingly, there was a mutual attraction between them and they have a peaceful relationship. They are very open to each other.

Hades offered her position, power and riches which she refused at first. She changed her mind days after when she realized that she could no longer be under her mother’s shadow and she could do a lot of things as the Queen of the Underworld.

At first, when Hades offered her to eat, she refused for she knew from the start that eating in the underworld will bound her to him which is why she punished him by not eating anything for days. She only ate at the supposedly last day in the Underworld before Hermes could her back. In fact, it was Hermes who gave Hades the idea. Hades told Persephone, “If you love me, you will remember me by eating this (handing her the pomegranate.”

She ate the seeds one by one, telling him at the same, “(I love you)very much, very, very much.”

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Below is somewhat close version to the original. There are so many versions and spin-offs that people are not aware of the real story.

Who are the women in Hades life and who are the men in Persephone’s life?

According to Servius: Leuce, a nymph, is Hades first love. He abducted her and when she died, he turned her to a Poplar tree in Elysium also known as sacred crown (Poplar leaves). Poplar leaves is also sacred to Persephone. A reason was never shared.

According to Oppian, Minthe, also a nymph, fell in love with Hades. In the past, she would always seduce Hades. However when she heard about the abduction of Persephone and that she became the Queen of the Underworld, she was so jealous and boasted that she was more beautiful than Persephone and that she could never please Hades. He will eventually go back to her. It invoked the wrath of Demeter and especially Persephone, thinking no one else should share Hades’ bed but her. She was so jealous and angry for seducing her husband. She stomped Minthe and she was turned to a Mint plant. There is another version of this.

In return, this is what Hades did to one of Persephone’s suitor. Another person who took an interest in Persephone is Primithous. He brought his friend, Theseus, to the Underworld and announce his intentions to abduct Persephone and make her his wife. Hades already knew of his plans. He prepared them a feast and asked them to take a seat on the chair of forgetfulness. And the chair entwined with their flesh. Theseus was rescued by Heracles (Hercules), but Hades kept Primithous in the Underworld as punishment for planning to take what’s his. Another version of this is Primithous was able to leave the Underworld after so many years.

Now Adonis is a different story. Aphrodite gave the baby under Persephone’s care. She felt maternal to the child. When Adonis grew up, Persephone refused to give him up for she treats him as his son, and Aphrodite was in love with Adonis. There was an argument between them and Zeus solved it by ordering Adonis to spend one third of his time in the Underworld, one third with Aphrodite and he can do whatever he wants on the other one third. Hades treated Adonis as his son too. The arrangement didn’t well with Ares, Aphrodite’s other lover. Out of jealousy, he created a boar while Adonis was hunting. He was killed and Aphrodite was distraught. In other versions, Persephone fell for Adonis charms too.

That concludes what I know about Hades and Persephone. I’ve changed my mind with regards to Hades and Zelena. I love them but I love Hades and Persephone story more because they have a better relationship and Hades wasn’t portrayed as a villain. Hades might also have a sour or snobbish personality at first, but Persephone was raised with all the love she could get. She was sensible, well-rounded and she didn’t have any issues to fix. Which is why she was able to change Hades, but not Zelena. I was really hoping that the Once Upon A Time writers had given Hades and Zelena a happy ending.

My Passion for Greek Mythology

Ever since I was a little girl, I always enjoyed the Greek Mythology. Maybe because of the idea of powers.

Aphrodite was my first favorite because she’s the supposed to be the most beautiful of all.

Then Athena, God of Battle Strategy and Wisdom.

And last is Artemis goddess of chastity, virginity, the hunt, the moon, and the natural environment. She was the daughter of Zeus and Leto, twin sister of Apollo, because she’s also known as Diana, and my name is Dianne. Then I encountered the star Cassiopeia and Queen Cassiopeia and the rest was history.

I always loved the Greek Mythology especially part in the story of Helen of Troy. I sympathise so much with Hector and Paris’s father. His people have lost everything to Agamemnon just because of Helen, the face that sailed a thousand ships as the movie would say.

My next favorite story was somehow in my memory. I hated every way Hades was portrayed in several Greek Mythology movies or series because they always make him the villain, when he isn’t really. But, I love Hades and Persephone’s story.

I thought it was romantic maybe because I also thought of Persephone as a mortal and it’s big deal to be notice by a God. Their story was even in my literature book. I think what I read or remembered is the different version. In my mind, that was always the version.

The story I know is that Hades was wooing Persephone and he took her to the Underworld, but she wasn’t aware that she’s the Lord or God of the Underworld. And that he tricked her into eating the Pomegranate seeds which is why she needed to stay there as his wife for four months and go back to her mother and stay with her for eight months.

I only realized the correct version when I decided to read it again in College from this old book in our home. I don’t know who owns it. It’s just in our shelves. I might share in my other post.

I also grew up watching the series Hercules, and Xena, the Warrior Princess. I always loved Xena’s technique where she will hit something in the neck, the person will have a hard time breathing then eventually die. If he answers her questions, she’ll have to hit him again so he can breath again.

Fast forward to now, I forgot my passion for Greek Mythology, because I went to College and focused on my career, and my dreams.

Then I saw Hades again in Once Upon A Time and remembered how much I liked his and Persephone’s story and it made me re-read every Greek Mythology book and literature in my Grandfather’s house. My passion for Greek Mythology is back with a vengeance.

And last, but not the least, I just saw the movie, Wonder Woman. I just love her back story, how she became who she was. I love the fighting stunts. Damn, the amazon casts we’re all amazing. And I just love the epic God to God battle with Ares. It doesn’t disappointment.

I especially love how the theme of the movie focused on love and what the mortal or immortal believed in.