Saltwater, Sea Air and Sassy Prose

About Cassidy Springfield

Cassidy Springfield writes travel reviews, New Adult Romance and Coming of Age novels. Dog-lover, adventurer, dreamer, and stargazer. Life is too short to waste on anything that doesn't ignite a fire in your soul.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

A Delicious and Decadent Deception #NewRelease Erotic #PNR

Shining this spotlight on this funny, smart, suspenseful, and sexy as hell new release by Dakota Skye--did I use enough adjectives? You MUST read this book. It is action-packed with passion and a mystery to keep you guessing--oh, and did I mention there are dogs? It is a must read! Go and get it today! First, read the blurb and excerpt below. 

From the back cover

Sweet temptations, sinful secrets, and scintillating seductions—psychic Lisa Vanderveen sees it all and wants to do whatever it takes to change Fate. But Fate is determined to toy with her by bringing the man of her visions directly to her door. 

Blake Santore does not believe in psychics, let alone an animal communicator, however, he will do anything to help his best friend, a German Shepherd named Greg. He is unprepared for the shocking tale she weaves of a deception so unforgiveable it rocks his already fragile world. 

Together they are bonded by undeniable chemistry and a deep need to uncover the truth. Their quest leads them on a dangerous and erotic journey. Secrets are revealed and desire clouds rational thought. Will the truth set them free or destroy their lives? Will love triumph over the need for revenge? 

Excerpt--adult content

She waited for him under the awning, the keys to her Mini dangling from her fingertips. He snagged them before grabbing the back of her head and grinding his mouth against hers. 

Wanting more than anything to make her laugh again, he dragged her into the rain without releasing her mouth. He crushed her body to his and thrust his tongue against hers until she curled her hands around his neck. Rain pelted his head and soaked through his shirt, but he didn't care. 

"Blake," she gasped against his lips.

He sucked on her bottom lip and stared into her eyes. "What?"

"We're soaking wet."

"So?" He moved his hands over her back before molding them to her ass, uncaring that they were blocking the entrance to the restaurant or that people darted by them on the sidewalk trying to get out of the rain. 

She laughed, her breath warming his skin. "Are you going to fuck me right here against the side of the building?"

"I'm thinking about it." He gave her ass a final squeeze before stepping away and snagging her hand. Hehadgotten the response hehadwanted. Laughing, he pulled her toward her Mini-Cooper

They both collapsed inside the car, completely soaked to the skin, and laughed at their predicament. 

"We're acting like children," she said with a smile as she adjusted the heat. 

"Children don't do what we do." He winked before focusing on driving them out of the city. 

Cobblestone roads rushed with water, the storm turning streets to streams. With the swooshing of the windshield wipers and the sound of their breathing over the quiet music from the radio, the confines of the car created an erotic setting where their body heat steamed the inside of the windows. 

At a stoplight, he glanced toward her and noticed her nipples standing erect against the thin fabric of the dress. Her mascara had run a little, creating a shadow beneath her eyes and her lips were swollen from his rough kiss in the street. Droplets of water clung to her bare knees and he wanted nothing more than to lick them from her skin. 

Abruptly, he pulled over into an alley and shoved the car into park. Without waiting for her to speak, he jumped out of the car and raced around to her side. He yanked the passenger door open and pulled her out. 

"What the hell, Blake?" 

"I can't wait one more minute to sink myself inside you." He pushed her up against a brick wall and peeled her dress up and over her head before she could react. 

She automatically covered her bare breasts and looked up and down the alley while licking rain off of her lips. "We could get arrested! We were being followed."

"Do you see anyone following us? I don't." He nipped her neck with his teeth before ripping her lacy panties from her body. 


"Saying my name like that only makes me hornier." He worked his zipper down before wiggling free of his jeans and underwear, needing to free his throbbing erection. 

Before she could say one more word, he grabbed her ass, lifted her up, pressed her hard against the wall, ground his mouth against hers and thrust deep inside her warmth. He loved the wildness of the moment, hadn't realized until hehadmet her how desperately hehadcraved losing control and forgetting the world. Now that hehadbeen unleashed, however, he doubted hewouldever be able to rein himself back in. 

He slid his mouth down her neck and squeezed her breast with his left hand. He didn't care if they were caughthell, the idea actually turned him on even more. Water pooled around their ankles and dripped between their bodies. A clap of thunder echoed through the narrow alley. 

Her fingers pulled on his hair, her legs tightened around his hips, her high-heeled shoes ground into the back of his thighs, her cunt convulsed around his dick in orgasm. 

He bit her shoulder before returning his attention to that delectable mouth of hers. God, he could survive onthe taste of her alone. He came with a final thrust deep inside of her. The thunder drowned out his own shout of ecstasy. 

She laughed against his mouth and smoothed her hands over the side of his face. "You surprise me."

He pulled free of her and kissed his way down her neck, between her breasts, over her abdomen, and down her legs before picking up the discarded dress and looking up at her. 

"You are so damn beautiful," he said.

She grabbed the useless dress and jumped into the front seat naked. "I'm going to get pneumoniaand die. Can we go home now?"

He pulled up his jeans and adjusted himself as he walked back to the driver's side. Satiated, he settled behind the wheel and took a minute to observe the naked and wet woman next to him. When they made eye contact, they both burst out laughing. 

"You know those people in New York you asked about?" he asked as he leaned in for another kiss. "They would all be shocked and scandalized if they knew what we just did."

"Most people would be, I think," she said against his lips. "Now let's get home. I'm naked and freezing."

He needed no more encouragement. He also wanted to get home, see his dog, unpack the new clothes he bought, and curl into a warm bed next to this woman who brought out a side of him hehad never known existed. 

"For the record, I've known more lawyers than a normal person should ever know," he said as he downshifted the car into overdrive. "I'm happy you're a baker slash witch."


"You cannot deny it." 



"I'm happy you came to Santa Fe." 

Her wet fingers curled over his wrist and, in that moment, he wanted to shout with joy and relief. Maybe, after all of the running, he had finally found home. 

Keep reading! Find it in ebook and paperback formats (amazon) at the retailers below: 

Monday, July 30, 2018

Dancing on the Fringe and Reveling in Freedom #traveler #newadult #wanderlust

“What is that feeling when you're driving away from people and they recede on the plain till you see their specks dispersing? - it's the too-huge world vaulting us, and it's good-bye. But we lean forward to the next crazy venture beneath the skies.” 

I have a strong sense of wanderlust, yet for years I've fought against it so that I could fit into an acceptable   box of conformity. Part of me assumed this was what being adult meant--conforming, putting off dreams of travel until I was more financially secure, saving for responsible things like a house or...a bigger house. Now I realize that isn't true, that it's a lie I've been fed by a society that likes to define things or people so that they can judge them more easily. By judge, I mean "is this right or wrong? is she worth befriending, worth knowing?" Once you step out of that box, you scare people. 

Right now I live in multiple places. I have a hard time when someone says "where do you live" because it's in flux. My lifestyle might seem chaotic to some, yet I have never been this calm. When I admit this, I get the look of "'re not normal are you?" 

What is normal anyway? Normal to one person may be abnormal to another. For me, because I am highly selective in my tribe of friends, I am normal. I know digital nomads who move every few months to a new city around the world. I know people who have homes in multiple cities. I know people who live in vans. They are happy, self-reliant, and free. To me, they are normal. I am normal. 

But I used to be afraid of this fringe-like lifestyle--and, if I'm honest, I still experience moments of uncertainty. I grew up in a small town in South Dakota where people like me were considered lazy or weird or crazy or "dreamers." Where I grew up, people were expected to settle--get a 9 to 5, go to happy hour for a beer with people you grew up with, make a family, buy a big house, have a nice car, travel when the kids went to college--be safe in every decision. Going against that was--and still is--a point of contention with my family of origin. 

The idea of "being safe", though, implies there is something to fear by exploring the world. I travel safely. I am savvy. I don't trust every random person that enters my sphere. I don't believe everything I hear. I take risks--but only because I trust myself to bounce if I should crash to the ground. 

When I look at someone who is living the 9 to 5 cookie-cutter lifestyle, I have little understanding of their existence. It rattles me. I don't judge it as wrong--because, hey, if they're happy so be it. I simply know that's not for me. I would constantly be looking out the office window toward the horizon, daydreaming about adventures I only read about in books, and becoming resentful of the invisible chains holding me back. 

What's normal for me isn't normal for others, I get that. I only wish that same respect would be reciprocated because it does get tiring being judged all of the time for simply living life on my terms. 

The way I see it is this--if you're happy, if you're self-reliant, if you're not hurting anyone, then do what's right for you. Live life YOUR way. We only get one shot at this. Accidents happen all the time--I could be living the "safe and expected" life and have a tornado kill me in my cubicle! Or I could be ravaged by a pack of hyenas while on safari in South Africa? Guess which one I would prefer? Well, prefer is a strong word--both options sound horrible--but my point is that I would rather die LIVING than die waiting to live. 

Boldy go!

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Tackling Issues of Sexual Consent in Writing #newadult #books

I was once told that to be a great writer, you need to write without censoring yourself. That's sometimes easier said than done--especially when writing about sensitive topics like sexual consent.

In my series, Addison Chronicles, my heroine is a rape survivor--but at first she doesn't identify as such because she's working through the details of what happened and with whom. This story unfolds through all six books in the series as she travels alone through Europe. The distance from where the rape happened brings her clarity--and stifled trauma busts through her carefully constructed facade. Despite the new relationships she's forming in beautiful places, the underlying ramifications of being raped while passed out at a party come forth in ways that are sometimes brutal but are ultimately healing as she finally confronts the reality she's hidden for so long.

Writing about consent is important as an author of any genre, but especially one that focuses on relationships. As authors, we have a responsibility to write the hard things to bring them to light. Rape is a sensitive issue and that is exactly why we must address consent in realistic and gentle ways.

We live in a world where everyone is highly sensitive so I understand why some authors might shy away from the edgier topics. Not everyone needs to be a literary warrior; however, if you have a desire to address consent or any other sensitive matter, I encourage you to do so. It's important to use your ability to communicate to reach someone who might be feeling isolated or flawed so that they know they aren't alone.

Through our characters, we have a chance to create a relatable person who works through the doubts, the shame, the denial, the angst and who ultimately triumphs. Characters are powerful in this way--readers connect and identify with them on a deep level. Who knows? Your characters could save a life and you may never know the impact you've had.

When writing about a sensitive issue like consent, though, it's important to be realistic without going over-the-top. Always remember the big picture of your story. Are you trying to give hope? What is your ultimate message? Create characters that are relatable and who stick to your desired outcome.

The Addison Chronicles are so much more than a story about sexual consent--they are about life moving forward, breaking down stereotypes, discovering that you're capable of more than you've ever dreamed, and facing down your past so you can claim your future. But the character is a rape survivor and, if anyone has experienced a situation like that, you know that that shapes you whether want it to or not. In the series, Addison doesn't want to admit that at first...but her journey is all about learning exactly how strong she truly is.

Writing the hard stuff can be daunting. There's always this little voice whispering about "triggers" and cautioning about the world's reactions. The only way to write authentically is to tell those voices to shut up and be true to not only your characters but to your intentions. It's important. And, hey, all the best writers in history rocked the boat and stirred shit up so you're in good company.

Peace to you!
Cassidy Springfield

See all of Cassidy's books at Author Cassidy Springfield

Monday, July 2, 2018

Can Their Love Survive the HEAT? #NewAdult #Romance #NewRelease

The Wildfire Romance Series is a shared world where multiple authors tell the tale of a wildfire threatening the town of Ouray, Colorado, from differing perspectives. All stories are stand-alone books that share common landmarks, a few overlapping characters, and the same crisis situation. This blog hop connects all stories so readers can take a peek inside each one. 
The link to various posts are below the excerpt.

Featuring Heat, Book Two, below

From the back cover...

Kiley Ross and Leo Marshall have a secret. He's her indulgence, her vice. She's his compass, his impossible dream.

Kiley is home for the summer between graduating the University of Colorado and attending graduate school out-of-state in the fall. Everything is changing—friends are scattering across the world, her long lost brother has appeared out of nowhere, a wildfire is threatening the family home, and her secret affair with the local outsider—Leo—is exposed.

As the wildfire ravages the forest around the small town of Ouray, she realizes what really matters and what truly doesn't. Her resistance toward change forces her to come to terms with her own failings—or risk losing the friendships and relationships that mean so much to her. Can she break free of the expectations that have held her back in time to rescue her love affair with Leo? Can he forgive her for wanting to keep him a secret? Confronted with seeing everything she has ever known burn to the ground, can Kiley rise up and step into her own power?

An excerpt...

"I heard what you said, voices fucking carry up here and I wasn't very far away."

"What I said about what?"

"I'm just a loser who can't get his shit together, huh? Screw you, Ki. At least I'm not a fake bitch who would die if the world knew you weren't perfect." He slams the van into gear and starts to drive out of the camp. "I'm a weird boy, huh?" He slaps his hand against the steering wheel. 

I flinch. I have no explanation because I can't deny what I said. 

"We're done. Whatever this is between us," he flips his hand between our bodies, "is done. Over. Don't worry. I will never tell anyone that we have been screwing each other's brains out for three years." He shoots me a glance. "Threeyears, Ki. Explain that. We were never just a fling and you know it even if you never wanted to admit that you were screwing the hired help, the weird boy who couldn't get his shit together."

"You're overreacting."

"Do not tell me I am overreacting!" He rolls the window down and leans his left elbow on it while taking the corners on the curvy highway a little too fast. 

I kick the dashboard. Every word he says is true and I know it. I am the one who is messed up. I roll down the window and lean my right elbow on it. We drive in silence the rest of the way to Tailwind. I know that anything I say at this moment will escalate the situation. He is mad, angrier than I have ever seen him. 

When we arrive back at Tailwind, he jumps out of the car and heads toward his own van with the words Elevated Distraction painted across its side. 

"You can't just walk away!" I yell because I do not want us to end, not like this, not because of some dumb thing I said to my brother because I wanted to appear more sophisticated than I am. 

"I have a gig at High Altitude Brewing tonight," he shouts over his shoulder. "The world doesn't revolve around you and your issues, Princess Ki." 

I feel my own rage burning under my skin. I stomp toward him but stop when my mom comes onto the veranda of the main resort with guests. 

He notices—his gaze darting between mom and me—and smiles that cocky smile that always makes me want to simultaneously beat him to death with my bare fists and strip him naked. 

"Is everything okay, Kiley?" Mom asks, the group of guests following her with blissed out expressions on their faces. 

I have always been mystified by how tourists act when they first step foot on this property—it's as if the altitude has turned their brains to mush. They snap pictures of every flower, bird, rabbit, chipmunk, deer, or pine tree they see while ooing and ahing over the view. The foursome following mom—also known as Matilda Ross—do not disappoint. 

Mom shoves a wayward strand of long silver hair behind her ear and gives me the infamous Ross glare that used to freeze me in motion when I was a kid. 

I think of the valuable information on my cellphone and smile as they walk past. "Enjoy your stay at Tailwind." 

"Did everything go well with the delivery?" Mom asks. 

"Excellent." I keep smiling until they walk past me to the trail leading to the cabins. 

My smile fades immediately when Leo slams the brakes on his van, sending up a cloud of dust. He rolls down the passenger window and shouts, "Three years! I want you to psychoanalyze yourself about what that means."

"I'm sorry, okay? I really am. Stop acting this way."

He swirls his finger over his ear and then stabs it through the air at me. "Three. Years. Figure yourself out, Kiley."

He speeds off, more dust churning behind his ridiculous Volkswagen Bus tires. I kick dirt after him and fist my hands at my sides. 

Fine. Go. I'm better off. Maybe Naomi has the right idea. Maybe it is time to move on from this place and meet new people. 

Monday, June 25, 2018

A Secret Love Affair Plus a Wildfire Equals HEAT #NewAdult #NewRelease #Romance

Shining the spotlight on HEAT, a new adult romance by Cassidy Springfield. 
Their love is a secret until it's not...can they stand the HEAT? 

from the back cover...

Kiley Ross and Leo Marshall have a secret. He's her indulgence, her vice. She's his compass, his impossible dream.

Kiley is home for the summer between graduating the University of Colorado and attending graduate school out-of-state in the fall. Everything is changing—friends are scattering across the world, her long lost brother has appeared out of nowhere, a wildfire is threatening the family home, and her secret affair with the local outsider—Leo—is exposed.

As the wildfire ravages the forest around the small town of Ouray, she realizes what really matters and what truly doesn't. Her resistance toward change forces her to come to terms with her own failings—or risk losing the friendships and relationships that mean so much to her. Can she break free of the expectations that have held her back in time to rescue her love affair with Leo? Can he forgive her for wanting to keep him a secret? Confronted with seeing everything she has ever known burn to the ground, can Kiley rise up and step into her own power?

Books2Read *all including Kobo**

An excerpt...

Ever since my big brother Devon dropped off the face of the earth ten years ago, I have heard every lecture imaginable about the dangers of being reckless and flighty, the perils of being a dreamer. That's what my brothers had been—Brandon who died when he was only seventeen had wanted to be a photographer, maybe work in film one day and Devon who vanished had always had ideals about being an explorer. So my parents made sure that Diane and I were practical—always have a plan, always be responsible, always maintain control.

 I look at Leo and bite the edge of my glass. It's as if he knows I am looking at him despite the sea of writhing bodies in front of the stage. He stares right at me. I know he's seeing me—sometimes I think he is the only one who has ever truly seen me. Desire churns in the pit of my gut. 

Leo and I have a secret. 

He's my indulgence. He's my vice. 

If anyone ever discovered the truth, my family would disown me and my friends would freak. There are lines I know I can't cross—but I do anyway. I like sneaking around, like having a side to me that no one knows. Yet there are moments when I feel like the secret is just a lie to hide behind because I'm too afraid of being who I really am. 

When the band takes a break, I make an excuse to disappear. I weave past women in line for the bathroom until I find the door leading into the back alley. There he is, waiting, taking a long drag of a cigarette. He crushes it under his foot as he watches me walk toward him. That's the thing about Leo. He watches—not just me, he watches everyone and everything. He leans his shoulder against the building and waits. 

"Good set. You guys are really setting the place on fire." 

"Thanks." He scoops me against him and tilts my head back with the tip of his finger. "You're looking extra hot tonight." 

"Same." I crush my lips against his. The rhythm of my heartbeat ramps up with the slide of his mouth against mine. 

He spins me around and presses my back against the hard bricks of the building. His hands are under my crop top and on my breasts. His leg is parting my thighs. 

I can't get enough of touching him, especially when he's sweaty like this and hungry for me. There's something intoxicating about knowing that almost every girl in the bar wishes they were me right now, wishes they had access to his full mouth, wishes his hands were on their bodies, wishes they could grab his ass like I'm doing. 

And what a fine ass it is. 

"My break is only ten minutes," he whispers into my open mouth. 

"I should be getting back to my friends anyway." I slide my fingers through his hair. "What's with calling me a pampered princess?"

He bites his lower lip, eyes half-closed, and traces my mouth with his thumb. "When I'm on stage, I speak only the truth."

"You can be a jerk, Leo."

"Same." He sucks my lower lip until I moan with need. 

I hold onto his shoulders and wish we had a few more minutes and a more secluded location. 

His hands roam over my exposed abdomen before sliding over my ass. His fingers scrunch the material of my skirt up until he's touching bare skin. He kisses my neck before moving his mouth to my ear and whispering, "Later, Princess Ki." 

I smack his shoulder because he knows I hate nicknames, especially that one.

With a wink, he steps back and drops his hold on me. He bows slightly and motions for me to walk ahead of him into the bar. 

I'm shaken but not from his kiss. There is so much I wish I had the courage to say, not just to Leo but to everyone. There is always this part of me that wants to stop in the middle of the street or wherever and scream. 

I want to be wild. It's like there is this voice inside of me that wants to shake off the good girl image and embrace being bad. 

But I can't do that. I won't do that. I'm Kiley Ross and there are things I can't do because my family would be too disappointed—and they have already suffered too much tragedy.

"You coming? You look like you're about to...I don't know what. Are you okay?" He tilts his head to the left and looks at me with those green eyes of his that make me want to confess all my secrets. 

But I don't. I won't. I'm Kiley Ross and there are expectations. 

"Why didn't you tell me that you and the band were going on tour later this summer?" 

He shrugs and looks away. "You're going to be gone by then and talking isn't something you and I do." 
I hold my head high and strut past him like the princess he thinks I am. 

I'm Kiley Ross. Pretending to have confidence is what I do. 

As I walk back to the table where Naomi is getting overly friendly with the cute waiter, I am aware that a group of girls stopped Leo to talk about his music, but I don't look back. We're a secret. I need our relationship to stay hidden in the shadows—to be ours alone. Private. 

Then why do I want to scream? 

Books2Read *all including Kobo**

Friday, July 14, 2017

A Place Where Serenity Reigns Supreme #NewMexico #Travel

Outside of a library, there aren't many places I've visited where cellphones are outlawed and staff walks around with signs saying "whisper please" and "no talking allowed". Ojo Calliente Mineral Springs and Spa in Ojo, New Mexico makes serenity a priority.

photo taken by Amber Lea Easton
An hour north of Santa Fe, New Mexico, this haven for the weary is the perfect solution to an over-worked and noise-embattled person. Just parking in the dirt lot surrounded by Juniper trees and sage bushes is a serene experience. As you walk toward the resort entrance, the earth around you is hushed except for the occasional bird call. Once inside, the staff welcomes you backed by fountains and the sense that you are about to become disconnected from all your least for a few hours. During the daytime, admission is relatively high at $36 per person, but that drops to only $16 after 6PM. For the price of admission, however, you are treated like a god or goddess for a little while. With luxurious locker rooms and resort-provided lush towels, you are set-up to enjoy a unique hot springs experience. 

The manager recommended we start out at the mud pool. This is where you get to indulge your inner child by slathering the spa's special blend of clay all over your skin before lying back in the sun to let it bake onto you. The blend of minerals is designed to release toxins from your body. Once the mud is dry, you immerse yourself in a mud pool before rinsing off under the showers. 

There are different pools to sink in, all with different minerals designed to heal your body in a myriad of ways. 

AND ALL ARE A WHISPER ZONE! What a blessing to not be bothered by someone else's chatter. 

The lithia pool is said to help with symptoms of depression--or mood--and aid in digestion. 

The iron spring is said to benefit the blood and immune system. 

The soda spring pool is enclosed and is the only pool where even whispering is outlawed--NO TALKING AT ALL! The enclosure captures the steam from the hot water where you're surrounded by natural rock cliffs. The soda spring is also said to assist in digestive problems--but, honestly, the echo from the water and the absence of outside world distractions, makes it one of the most relaxing pools on the premises, thereby assisting the soul as well. 

The arsenic pool helps relieve you of all aches and pains, including relief from arthritis symptoms, stomach ulcers, and skin conditions. 

All of the pools are banked by large boulders and the beautiful vistas of northern New Mexico. 

I had driven up from Santa Fe, New Mexico, so can't comment on the accomadations at the resort; however, if they are anything like the springs or the restaurant, I'm betting it's worth a weekend visit. 

Disconnecting like this even for a few hours refreshed me in ways I desperately needed. My body and spirit felt lighter as my daughter and I enjoyed a light lunch at the restaurant before headed back down to Santa Fe on a scenic mountain highway. 

To find out more about Ojo Calliente, please visit their site at:

Sunday, December 11, 2016

The Great Unraveling of 2016 #startingover #selfcare #Inspiration

2016 has been the hardest year of my life so far, much worse than when my husband died. It has been a great unraveling of literally everything and my self-confidence has taken a beating. As a result, I have been fighting to find solid ground.

When I'm in this state of stress, I can't create. I find that all of my creative energy goes into problem solving mode rather than novel-writing. I talk out options to the people closest to me, attempt a change of course and try something new if that plan didn't work, always in an attempt to save myself from ruin.

I'm a huge podcast fan. The other day I heard someone use the term "YAK"--you already know. As in, you already know the answer about what's best for you so don't seek outside opinions, don't waffle, don't allow others to undermine your confidence when you need it the most.

Hmm...that makes a lot of sense to me, yet I find the basics of that hard to follow. I have a bad habit of confiding in the wrong people at the wrong times.

I need to remind myself to go within to my inner guidance and do what I know is best. I alone know what I'm going through. I alone have been on the floor clawing at my flesh and sobbing for the Lord to just take me away, to end the pain. I alone know the numbers in my bank account and how they compare to the bills owed. I alone make the decisions regarding my home, my businesses, my kids' college expenses, my pets, my life--which means I alone know all that's in jeopardy. I alone know the health battles I've fought--sometimes winning, sometimes losing, mostly just grinning and bearing it because so much is riding on me. I alone know all that I've lost...which at this moment is pretty substantial. I alone know that I can't write when I'm like this--that all of the works in progress that were on my desk a year ago are the same that are there today, which is really bad considering I have multiple deadlines approaching with publishers in only a matter of weeks. I alone know the kind of pressure I'm under. I alone know what it feels like to see doubt in my children's eyes because, after all these years, they no longer can trust in tomorrow.

Yet, it's hard for me to not confide in people. I'm way too open and far too trusting. Perhaps I seek understanding or yearn for the companionship my late husband once provided, I don't know. Confiding in others, however, hasn't worked out too well. This is what I need to do: shut up, go within, and listen to the Divine.

YAK! Maybe I need those three letters tattooed on my wrist! You. Already. Know.

I know what to do. I even tried doing it--I put the house up on the market in late September but the realtor literally did nothing, never brought one buyer or held an open house, never answered a call or email. So I gave up last month before Thanksgiving and told myself I could go back to fighting and struggling again, that it was a "sign" that it didn't sell, that I'm meant to stay. My kids were thrilled, but I was still apprehensive because I know all of those things I stated above haven't changed. People tell me to fight harder...but I'm so damn tired of fighting! I'm exhausted. Fight, fight, fight has been my mantra for eleven years and I am ready to surrender.

Part of why I fought so hard for probably too long is because so many expected me to fail after Sean died. They told me so. They said it to my face, to the kids, whispered behind my one was shy about their lack of faith in me. So, even though I did survive as a solo parent for eleven years, I had a bad fucking year that unraveled everything. I did not fail. I succeeded for a long time. So, why do allow myself to doubt my own decisions and my own instinct?

I know what to do. It's time for me to downsize and hit "restart" on my life. It's time for me to buy a home with the equity from this one--no more mortgage for me, no more worry about it being taken away from me. It's time for me to do what's best for ME rather than everyone else. Why? So I can write--which is what I do. Because my future is at a stake, no one else's at this point.

This year has taught me some valuable lessons--sometimes you need to let go of the good, step into the unknown, and seize possibility. I'm like someone who has been clinging to the river bank of the known as the force of the water has slammed my bruised body into boulders again and again as I struggled to regain my grip on crumbling earth. And if I'd let go, maybe I'd have less broken bones, fewer internal injuries, and wouldn't be drowning. So now I'm letting go and hoping the flow guides me to a safe place, somewhere new.

I've started over before, I can do it again.

Amber Lea Easton

Amber Lea Easton is a multi-published author of romantic thrillers, contemporary romance, women's fiction, and nonfiction. She also writes five different blogs, works as a professional editor and author coach, creates a line of inspirational journals, volunteers for children's literacy, and advocates for suicide awareness. In addition, she is the mother of two extraordinary human beings who lives in a small cabin high in the Rocky Mountains where she is completely aware of how lucky she is. To find out more about her books, please visit