Saltwater, Sea Air and Sassy Prose

Saltwater, Sea Air and Sassy Prose

About Cassidy Springfield

Cassidy Springfield is the pen name for a multi-published author of both fiction and nonfiction. Under Cassidy, she writes travel reviews, travel recommendations, and New Adult/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.

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 cares...at 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: http://ojocaliente.ojospa.com


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 back...no 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.

Peace.
Amber Lea Easton
http://www.amberleaeaston.com



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 http://www.amberleaeaston.com



Saturday, September 3, 2016

A Wild Ride of a #Read in the Cayman Islands #RomanticSuspense #LaborDay

Excerpt of the romantic suspense, Duplicity, Book Three of the Wanderlust Series (all stand-alone novellas)...18+ content

"I'm sorry." Larry treaded water behind her.

"You should be." She blinked away the tears, unwilling for him to see her crying after he'd basically instructed her to do so earlier.

"I can't explain it."

"I didn't ask." She moved away from the hull and swam toward the back of the boat, tired of swimming and needing space. She spit water from her mouth before grabbing the ladder leading up the back of the stern.

His hands closed over her fingers. His breath caressed the side of her face. "I am not a Hollywood caricature of anything. I'm me. This is who I am."

She closed her eyes and savored the sensation of his naked body sliding against her backside. "But you don't like plates?"

He laughed and rested his chin on her shoulder. "Can we just forget about all that? I will be the first to admit that I'm an asshole."

Unsmiling, she turned within the circle of his arms, wrapped her legs around his hips, and pushed the wet hair from where it streaked across his face. "Why did you think someone paid me to pretend? Why would anyone go to such extremes?"

Something flickered deep within his blue eyes but he didn't look away. "I've got sort of a fucked up family. It's a long story, one I'd rather not discuss, but this is me. What you see here, what I've built on Grand Cayman, my friends, all of it...one hundred percent authentic."

She curved her thumb along his cheekbones and nodded. "I'm trying to do the right thing. I'm not a bad person. I don't want to die."

He shook his head. "I won't let that happen."

"You said you weren't my bodyguard," she reminded him with a small smile, once again trying to hold the tears at bay. "You're just my captain, remember?"

"Yeah, well, I'm full of shit." He smiled against her lips before licking the salt from them. "I really am sorry for losing it up there—"

"I forgot about it the moment you stripped," she whispered against his mouth.

"One drunken night is a hook up and nothing more...but the second time feels much more deliberate." He hesitated a breath away from her face, his blue eyes dark with both desire and concern.

"Let me guess," she pressed closer to him, enjoying the feel of the metal ladder pressing against her back while the warm Caribbean Sea lapped against their bodies, "you're not the kind of guy who usually has more than a one night stand."

"Stop worrying about the kind of guy I am."

"That means I'm right?" She nuzzled her nose against the side of his face. The dread that had sunk her heart only minutes earlier dissipated.


"Do you really care about anything beyond this moment?" He brushed his lips over her neck, his massive body making her feel small and vulnerable in the water.

She didn't care about anything except the sensations of warm water, metal, heat, salt, his body, his mouth, his breath. Sounds of the rope holding the dingy behind the main yacht slapping against the hull competed with the sound of her heartbeat reverberating in her ears.

She slid her hands down his chest to his waist and back again. "I totally understand why the coeds go for you even though you're past your prime."

He laughed against her neck before pulling away and looking her in the eye. "Past my prime, huh? My bet is that we are the same age."

Her lips twitched because she knew she'd hit a nerve. Obviously, they were both in their thirties, but she hadn't been able to resist a dig. Feeling more adventurous than she had in a long time, she grabbed the steps of the ladder, unwrapped her legs from around him, moved up toward the boat, and pressed her breasts against his face. He licked her abdomen as she slid past him toward the deck and she smiled at the gleam in his eye.

He followed, covering in her body with his before she was fully out of the water. Flat on the lower deck used for divers to come in and out of the sea with the ocean sloshing beneath them, he captured her mouth in a kiss that left her breathless with need.

Passion from the night before had been fueled by whiskey, but today it erupted from pure desire. She couldn't get enough of touching him, kissing him—couldn't get enough of him manhandling her as if she were his plaything.

No man had ever before triggered her into this frenzied lovemaking. She craved him. It was as if inhibition had evaporated in the sea breeze and all common sense had been left on land.

He nipped, pinched, licked, and kissed every inch of her until she slapped her hands at her sides and prayed for release. The boat rocked beneath them, saltwater splashed over their joined bodies, and the sun dipped lower in the sky.


He consumed her, his body claiming hers while his mouth crushed her lips.

From the back cover...

Nothing bad happens in paradise...or does it?

Lexi Dubois is in trouble. On Grand Cayman for business, she discovers the company she's been working for is funding a human trafficking ring—and the money trail leads back to her. Scared for her life, she charters a boat for a week to hide from the men on the small island who want her dead and to buy time to find enough evidence to take them down. The last thing she expects—or wants—is a torrid affair with the hot captain and dive master.

Larry Gibbon has been running a charter dive boat operation in Grand Cayman for years. He's seen it all—and done his share of creating havoc. But when a mysterious woman charters his boat for a week—alone—he has no idea what trouble she's bringing aboard.

The ocean is vast and unforgiving, but will Larry's knowledge of the Cayman Islands and Lexi's relentless determination to survive be enough to save them?

**The Wanderlust Series consists of stand-alone adventure romance novels. Occasionally, characters from previous novels may make a cameo, but each story truly does stand on its own merits.

Start the adventure today! 


Thursday, July 14, 2016

Searching Out Wide Open Spaces to Reunite With a Wide Open Mind #motivation


When everything starts to get to be too much--too much noise, too much stress, too much overload--get in your car and drive. Anywhere. Leave the city lights and traffic in your rear view mirror and hit the open road without an agenda.

Turn up the radio. Open the window. Let the wind toss through your hair.

Let it be easy.

Don't coach your thoughts, allow them to flow through your mind on a whim.

Notice the scenery around you.

Sing out loud to a song--and sing LOUD! Free up those vocal chords and tap the steering wheel like a drum.

Pull over at some out of the way roadside diner and leave your phone in your pocket. Chat with the waitress about the weather or the specials or the history of the place. Look her in the eye. Smile.

Perhaps find a new town, go their city park, sit on a bench, and look around. What would it be like to live there? Can you imagine an alternate life where you're one of its citizens walking by on the sidewalk looking at you and wondering where you're from and what you're doing? Free up your mind to possibility.

Be childlike in your wonderment of the world and the people in it. There really is more good than bad in the world if you bother to look around, loosen up, and practice kindness.

On your way home, appreciate where you've chosen to build a life. Notice the wonderful things that drew you there. Be grateful for what you have--the bills, the house, the kids, the co-workers--because it really is all temporary.

Tomorrow it could all change. Appreciate today. Soak it up. Embrace your life as is--a perpetual work in progress where you have the power to create every moment and rewrite as you go.



Friday, July 1, 2016

A Summer Love Affair in Italy #4ofJulyRomance #RomanceNovels


Excerpt of book one of the two-part romance series, In Between (currently .99 sale!) 


Jacques led them around the corner before pulling her into a doorway of a random building, pressing her back against the bricks, and leaning against her. "Can I kiss you or do I need to wait for a more appro—"

She kissed him—hard—and silenced his words. Gentlemen were overrated. Senses overrun with wine, jetlag, and him, she fisted her hands in the material of his shirt to remain standing as her legs trembled with desire. 

He slipped his hand behind her neck and deepened the kiss with his tongue while his other hand moved behind her waist to hold her as close as they could be without getting naked. 

Her panties melted to her skin. She wanted to fuck him then and now. It didn't feel like they'd met only hours ago. Kissing him, holding him, being with him felt like the most natural thing in the world. 

"I've been wanting to do that since you looked up from my lap," he muttered against her lips. 

She laughed and opened her eyes. "Not my best moment." 

"You got my attention." He smiled before kissing her again. 

He tasted like wine and all things deliciously tempting. She teased her tongue against his, her hands moving over his shoulders with appreciation. She'd seen the muscles hidden beneath his shirt and wanted to sink her teeth into his skin. 

When he muttered in French before sliding his mouth along her neck, she smiled against his hair. She didn't need to speak his language to know they were communicating perfectly. 

"We are dangerously exposed," she said when a group of laughing strangers passed them on the street. 

He looked up, smiled, and framed her face with the palm of her hand. "I like living dangerously. What about you? What do you like?"

"I like this." She dropped the back of her head back against the brick and observed him through narrowed eyes. Hands still on his shoulders, she smoothed them down the front of his chest and grinned. "I like you."

He winked, sighed, and stepped back from her. "I don't know what I'm going to do about you, Jessica Moriarty. I sense trouble ahead." 

"I think you know exactly what to do with me, Jacques Sinclair." Feeling like a bird freed from its cage and soaring toward the sky, she grabbed his hand and yanked him back against her. "One more kiss before dinner." 

"You are the most dangerous kind of woman." He paused a fraction above her lips and looked her in the eye. "And I am the most dangerous type of man." 

"Are you? Why do you say that?" 

"Because I have nothing to offer and nothing to lose."

Heartbeat shook her eardrums. He was like no one she'd ever met before, mysterious and foreign with confidence oozing from his pores. 

"Neither do I. Not a care in the world," she lied. 

"This will be fun." 

"Oh, I have no doubt." 

From the back cover...

In between responsibilities and dreams...


Jessica Moriarty has always played by the rules, but for once in her life, she's doing exactly as she pleases. In between graduate school and 'real life', she's in Florence, Italy, indulging her love of art and abandoning inhibitions.

Meeting Jacques Sinclair rocks her off center. Whereas rules and living up to expectations have dictated her life, he is the opposite. A rebel. A photographer. A man who lives for the moment. He sweeps her up into a riveting romance that makes her question all she's ever believed to be true.

The drum of old commitments echo through her heart as time ticks away. Will the crush of 'real life' undermine the love she's found in between...?

This is book one of the two-part Dancing Barefoot series.
 



Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Fall in Love with Out of the Way Slices of Perfection #Colorado #Travel

Jefferson Lake, Colorado--all photos on this post taken by Briahna Easton
 
There are perks of being a Colorado local for twenty-two years and marrying a native--one of the best being is knowledge of tucked away slices of majesty.

There are no crowds of tourists, no advertising on the highway, yet this remote high altitude lake in the Pike National Forest is picture perfect paradise. Less than two hours from Denver, Colorado, this little-known area awaits for fishing, hiking, camping, picnicking or simply meditating on its shores.

Getting there requires some local knowledge, though, because it isn't marked on Highway 285 and the town of Jefferson, Colorado consists of less than a dozen buildings---a fudge shop, a Moose Caboose, a museum, and a bar/grill being the most notable. In fact, once you cross Kenosha Pass, slow down because the town of Jefferson is right there and you'll need to make a hard right at the Moose Caboose. I'm not kidding.
Looking down onto Jefferson from Kenosha Pass
You'll see signs for another lake, Tarryoll, with arrows pointing in the opposite direction, but there is no such sign for Jefferson Lake. You just need to "know"...so now you do. The road is horrible, lined with potholes that could do some serious damage if you're not driving slow, and you may start to feel like you're lost. You're not. Several miles along this road you'll see a small brown sign indicating that you are near a National Park. Turn right at the sign onto an even worse dirt road. These roads may scare a less adventurous soul, but I ask that you be patient and just drive slow. All around you you will see willows lining a river dotted with waterfalls surrounded by mountain peaks dotted with snow. Soon you'll come to the National Park entrance that is marked with a very old red hut. The ranger may or may not be there--it's hit or miss. If he's there, you'll pay $6 for a day use pass. If not, it's free. From this point on, the road is paved and maintained.

This area is known for its wildlife---moose, bear, deer, fox. It's lush with vegetation and the drive is serene. Campgrounds and picnic areas line the river, all with a feeling of seculusion due to the thick forest. At the top of the road is Jefferson Lake--prepare to be awed.

little waterfall along the trail--steeper than it looks
No motorized boats are allowed on this high-altitude lake. You'll see fishermen on the shoreline and a few kayaks or canoes, but that is it. I've hiked here many times over the years and have never seen more than a dozen people at most, all scattered over the vast area. The hike is not for the faint of heart, though. You are near the summit and the lake itself is at 11,000 feet. There are times on the trail when you will be hiking through snow--even in the summer. The trail is not well-maintained and, at times, you will need to navigate fallen rocks and trees. There are also a few waterfalls you'll need to jump over and a shallow river to cross.

Snow on the trail--June 20, 2016
This is an easy day trip for Denver and the foothills, but go early to avoid the late afternoon thunderstorms that are so common at high altitude. After hiking or fishing or simply enjoying some peace, stop by the Moose Caboose or the local cafe in Jefferson for a late lunch or dinner, meet a few locals, and head back home. Traffic can be a killer on a Sunday when headed back to the city, so why rush it? Grab a bite to eat and take it easy. The environment invites a slower state-of-mind so give in to it.

Travel safe! Wishing you all green lights and friendly faces on your journey.

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Thursday, June 2, 2016

The Perks of Traveling Solo

You're going where? Alone? Aren't you afraid? Who will you share your memories with ten years from now? What if you're kidnapped...or murdered?! Oh, the questions just keep rolling in when I mention traveling solo.

But, I laugh them off because I have secret insights as to the many perks of traveling alone that my fearful acquaintances don't understand. Here are a few:

  1. I'm accountable to no one. If I want to sleep in to have breakfast in bed or if I want to sit on a beach watching the sunrise--it's my decision alone. I don't have to explain it to anyone. I am tied to no one's agenda but my own. Now that's freedom! 
  2. Easily meet new friends from all over the world. There's something about being solo on a trip that makes people want to include me in their conversations. Perhaps they find it odd that I'm alone or maybe I just have that non-threatening look about me that allows people to strike up an easy conversation. Whenever and wherever I travel, I'm not alone all the time. People at the bar or on excursions are quick to ask me to join them for dinner or meet them at the beach. The best thing about this is that I have connections from all over the globe--and I get to choose my company and how long I stay with them. I'm never 'stuck' in an uncomfortable situation. 
  3. Speaking of uncomfortable situations, have you ever traveled with a friend you thought would be fun on a trip only to realize once you're on vacation that they whine about everything? But you're stuck with them--trapped in the role of 'travel buddy' when all they want to do is complain about the food, the weather, the people, the heat, the cold--you know the type. As a solo traveler, you have the power to control your own experience at all times! If there is ever a situation where someone is making you uneasy, it's much easier to part ways with a stranger than with a friend you need to see back home. 
  4. Flexibility is another perk. If I'm disappointed about where I'm staying or the destination itself, it's much easier as a solo traveler to change plans on the fly. 
  5. But what about eating alone? (This seems to really freak some people out--I hear this question all the time) Umm...it's never once bothered me. Yes, depending on the country, there is a strange reaction to a woman showing up for dinner alone at times, but that's on them not me. If I am sitting in a coastal town with a table overlooking the ocean, believe me when I say I am fine with not needing to make small talk or entertain someone else. If this is an issue for you, grab take out and head to your room or find a place in a park somewhere to have an impromptu picnic. There are solutions to this relatively minor situation. 
Of course, as a single traveler, you do need to be smart. Check out the security of your hotel before you go--if anything creeps you out once you're there, change accommodations without feeling the need to apologize. Do what's best for you. Always pay attention to your surroundings and be savvy about protecting yourself. Let someone back home know what you're up to...just in case. Have your emergency contact info in your suitcase or in the safe of your hotel. These are things any traveler should do--whether you're in a group of ten or one.

Solo travel is empowering on many levels. Not only do you have the freedoms I mentioned above, but you come to connect with yourself on a much deeper level. You gain confidence about what you're able to do on your own, which only strengthens your independence.

Don't let being solo stop you from having the adventures you dream of. Even if you're not single but your significant other doesn't want to travel somewhere, go alone and embrace your individual power.

When I was only twenty-one, I headed out on my first solo travel adventure around the world. It scared me at first--perhaps intimidated would be a better word? But soon I learned some life lessons that have stayed with me for twenty years--people are innately good all over the globe whether we speak the same language or not and you get what you put out there so always be kind.

Go forth and have a good time. Life is short. Don't let a silly thing like being single ever stop you from enjoying this beautiful planet we call Earth.

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