Life

12/01/14 Life , Reading # , , , , , , , ,

A Quick and Easy Gift for the Reader on Your List!

Prophecy_PB_COVER_HRNeed a personal book for the reader on your list? I’ve got you covered!

😉

Right now through 12/8 you can purchase ANY of my books (online or in person) from Oblong Books and Music and I’ll sign and personalize it for you in time for the holidays. That includes Prophecy of the Sisters, Guardian of the Gate, Circle of Fire, A Temptation of Angels, and This Wicked Game.

Nothing makes a better gift for a book lover than a signed book, plus you’ll be supporting an awesome Indie.

Just order here and tell me to whom you’d like the book signed. Easy peasy!

🙂

 

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11/16/14 Life # , , ,

This Shit is Hard

love-and-lightI post a lot about personal growth and enlightenment (my idea of enlightenment isn’t a religious one, but you can apply to the term whatever works for you). This isn’t because I see myself as a paragon of said enlightenment. In fact, quite the opposite is true. The more I learn about the higher consciousness associated with spiritual growth, love, connectedness, and anything else you might put under the umbrella of enlightenment, the more I feel I have to learn.

Which is why it’s particularly disappointing to see people I respect and admire, people who routinely spout love-filled ideology, behaving in ways counter to their supposed spirituality.

Listen, I get it. It’s not easy to deal with some of the situations life throws our way. It’s not easy to decipher the truth of a situation when everyone has their own version (and we see things through a lens uniquely altered by our own experiences, loyalties, and agendas). It’s not easy to watch the people we love targeted, belittled, hurt, shamed, excluded. But as I try to learn and grow, to become a better person really, my goal is to bring love and light to every situation, ESPECIALLY those where it’s difficult to do so. And while I’d love to say I always do this, the truth is that it’s not always possible.

Because this shit is HARD.

So when I find myself in a situation where I want to rage, where I want to be my smallest, meanest, most petty self, my goal shifts. Then I am aware that I am just not capable of bringing light and love to the situation, and my goal becomes to NOT bring more darkness to it. In those situations, it’s sometimes all I can do to mediate on the issue at hand, to STAND SILENT rather than BE MEAN. Yes, I would like to be the kind of person who can always bring light and love to a situation, but the truth is, I’m just not there yet. Sometimes I can pull it out, but other times it takes everything I’ve got just to NOT BRING DARKNESS.

As I share my own journey, the last thing I ever want is to be a hypocrite, to be less than honest about where I’m at on the path. But there is one thing I can say with certainty – it has been a long, long time since I have been outwardly mean, small and petty, even in a very trying situation. Inwardly, I still struggle with these things from time to time. Of course I do. But I have finally gotten to the point where I can’t remember the last time I’ve said or done something to make someone feel bad about themselves, their behavior, their journey. The point where I can honestly say that a majority of the time, I strive to make people feel loved and worthy of love.

Because here is the truth; there has never been a spiritual teacher, or even someone I respect and admire spiritually (again, not a religious definition for me, make the connection to this word that suits you), who has spent their time pointing out the flaws of others, criticizing them, being mean and petty and small and making others feel mean and petty and small. The people I admire spiritually aren’t always perfect. They are often people who will acknowledge, again, that this shit is hard. But neither do they bring more darkness to already-dark situations. Instead they bring the light, or at the very least, turn inward to work on themselves until they can.

So the next time you find yourself in a trying situation, try asking what you can do to bring love and light to it. And if you can’t, that’s okay. Just don’t bring darkness. Look inward instead and work on being the kind of person who can. And if you are the unfortunate target of darkness-bearing people (especially those cloaked as light-bearers), retreat and bring light to yourself — and find others who will join you in keeping the torch lit, and of course, in passing it on.

<3

 

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11/13/14 Life # , , , , , , ,

You Are Not In Jeopardy

All_Is_WellIf I ever get a tattoo, this is what it will say.

I think these words often, ever since I read a quote that went something like; “Do not for a moment entertain the idea that you are in jeopardy.” I wish I could remember who said it! Rumi maybe?

In any case, those words changed the way I think about fear and worry and strife and the never-ending obstacles that can feel like a necessary part of life’s bargain. As soon as I read them, I felt a burden lifted from my shoulders. Of course, I know now that this is because all our fear and stress and anger and disappointment is a result not of the events that happen in our lives, but of the way we think about them and our attachment to the outcome. But back then I only knew that I felt… relief at the idea that I am okay.

I AM NOT IN JEOPARDY.

What powerful words. My mantra, ALL IS WELL, is just a shorter way of saying it.

I repeat the phrase often. I repeat it when I’m worried about paying for braces or college or about that strange sound coming from my car (and how much it’s going to cost to fix). I repeat it when I wonder if — yes, IF — I will sell another book and when I’m feeling like a hack and a has-been (it happens more often than you might think). I repeat it when I wonder if my brand is shot to hell from writing different kinds of books and if I’ll ruin my career by doing something bold and ill-advised. I repeat it when I’m thinking about my kids moving out of the house and the now-imminent moment (exhilarating and terrifying!) when I will have long stretches of time to fill with something other than the mindless tasks of making lunches and driving people everywhere.

These simple words have the power to calm the shallow breath and knotted stomach of anxiety. They have the power to ground me in an instant – whether I’m driving in the car saying them out loud or standing in a check out line repeating them in my head. But I know it isn’t the words themselves that do the job. It’s the knowledge — the REMINDER — that all really IS well. It’s well because I say it’s well. It’s well because, in the words of another famous, unattributed quote, “Everything will be okay in the end, and if it’s not, it’s not the end.” The only sure thing in life is that everything is always changing. Don’t like what’s going on, how you’re feeling, what someone is saying? Ride it out and it will pass. Try it the next time you are worried or scared or beaten down. Take a few slow, calming breaths and say the words.

All is well. I promise.

<3

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10/20/14 Life # , , , ,

You Are Terrifying and Strange…

warsan_shire_quote1It took me a long time to understand that not everyone will know how to love me. That’s okay. But it’s also okay to insist on the kind of love you deserve. It might mean that it takes longer to find the right people. It might mean there are fewer of them. But in the end, the people who know how to love you — just as you are — are the people you need in your life. As for the others; send them light and love and let them go. In the meantime, learn to love yourself like the most gentle of friends, the most passionate of lovers, the kindest and wisest of mentors. Because the most important thing of all is that you know how to love you.

Have a wonderful week, sweet friends.

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10/14/14 Life , Recipe of the Week , Recipes # , , ,

Vegetarian Sausage and Biscuits

sausage_biscuitsIt’s been surprising to realize how little I miss from my meat-eating days. I’m going on three years being vegetarian, and the truth is, I rarely crave anything with meat these days. Part of that is because there are so many vegetarian substitutes for meat products, and we’re lucky enough to live in an era where most of them are really very good. The other part of it is that my taste buds have changed. I mostly crave “live” food (vegetables and fruit), and if I go too long eating a lot of pasta or bread or rice, it’s salads and fresh fruit that I really want.

That said, every now and then you hear the call of some forgotten food, often with associations of comfort or childhood. Sausage and biscuits has been on my list for the last few weeks, so I finally decided to try and make it veggie. And you know what? It rocked. Really, it was almost indistinguishable from the meat version. Even the kids said it was the best sausage gravy EVER. Plus it was super easy and took about twenty minutes.

Hope you enjoy it!

Biscuits and Vegetarian Sausage Gravy

14 oz. vegetarian sausage (I used Good Life’s non-GMO version in a tube)

4 cups vegetable broth (I made my own with 4 cups of water and 4 tsp of Better Than Bouillon vegetable paste)

4 tablespoons corn starch

1 cup Greek yogurt

Salt and pepper to taste

Brown the vegetarian sausage in a little oil (I use grapeseed oil), breaking apart with a spatula or wooden spoon while it cooks. While the sausage is browning, whisk together the broth and corn starch.

Once the sausage is brown and a little crispy, add the broth and corn starch mixture. Whisk on and off for about two minutes or until the gravy is thickened.

Turn off heat and whisk in yogurt. Add salt and pepper to taste (liberal pepper adds a nice Southern flavor to the gravy).

Pour over your favorite biscuits. Or rice. Or potatoes. Or basically anything.

Enjoy!

🙂

 

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09/25/14 Life # , ,

Go Out Into the World and Do Good

Go_Into_the_WorldSometimes you just need a reminder of why we’re really here. <3

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09/22/14 Life # , , , , , , ,

Let It Breathe

hafiz_quoteFor years now I’ve had a recurring dream. The details are never exactly the same, but I’m always lost someplace, trying desperately to get out because I MUST be somewhere else immediately. When my children were younger, it was usually that I was supposed to pick them up, and I knew they were waiting for me on the other side of a mall or city or office building that I couldn’t seem to navigate. Floors changed from gymnasiums to hospitals, hallways turned into mazes from which there was no escape, and city blocks seemed to morph before my eyes into an unrecognizable landscape. I’d end up wandering around, thinking, “But that corner was RIGHT HERE.”

Saturday night I dreamed that I was in a strange kind of dorm with my daughter. We were supposed to man a booth for charity at a flea market, but we’d both woken up late. She wanted to throw clothes on and go, but I preferred to take a quick shower first so I wasn’t so out of it. We were still negotiating when she decided to leave without me. So I tried to find my way there, but the harder I tried to escape the dorm building, the more lost I became. Eventually I decided to go to the first floor, reasoning there would at least be access to an exit, but when I got there it was a hospital with sick people in every room and no exits I could find. When I went back up to the second floor, it had become a sports arena, and in my dream, I wasn’t even sure I’d been on the second floor of the dorm to begin with.

And all the while, the minutes ticked by. I kept checking clocks on the walls only to find that it had become so late in the afternoon that there was hardly a point trying to get to the flea market at all. I woke up panicked, with a familiar knot of anxiety in my chest that told me how wound up I’d been even in my sleep.

After that, I thought a lot about why I keep having these dreams, and why they make me so anxious, and I realized it’s never the being LOST that freaks me out; it’s always the fact that I’M SUPPOSED TO BE SOMEWHERE ELSE. It’s that ticking clock telling me I’m late, that itinerary telling me I have somehow failed my responsibilities. Such an obvious connection to real life that “metaphor” hardly applies!

It seems there’s always someplace else I’m supposed to be, something else I should have done by now. I’m never where I believe I SHOULD be. Shouldn’t I be on some bestseller list somewhere by now? Shouldn’t I have won some kind of award? Shouldn’t there be a movie or TV show about ONE of my books? Shouldn’t I have more financial security? And this isn’t an entitlement thing. It’s a “what the hell have I been doing with myself?” thing.

But the answer is simple. I’m on the road. I’m working and raising kids and learning and growing and experimenting (when I have the luxury), and yes, making mistakes, too. I’m here because I need to be here, and because there is some purpose to this particular hallway, this particular floor. There is something important I haven’t yet seen or done on this city block, and I think I will be better off if I just stop looking at the clock and instead take a deep breath and look around.

<3

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09/09/14 Life # , , , , ,

Why Are We Here Again?

We_are_here_to_healI love this quote so much. I think from now on, if I have a quandary, I’ll just look at this and ask myself; what will bring healing? What will bring love? What will allow me to create something beautiful? Or alternately, will this action or these words harm anyone? Will they destroy?

It’s a very human response to think about how our decisions will affect us. Will this contribute to my personal gain? Will it make me look good? But what if we put those concerns aside and thought only about this? What a relief!

And it kind of makes every decision seem simple, doesn’t it?

Sending you healing, love and creation, Sweet Friends!

<3

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09/02/14 Life # , , , , ,

Happy New Week!

charles-bukowski-quotes-drink-from-the-wellOne of the most amazing things about this beautiful, wonderful, crazy life is that there is no limit to the number of times you can begin again.

<3

 

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08/21/14 Life # , , ,

Are You a Seeker?

What_you_seekWhat_you_seekI’ve always considered myself a Seeker, but I have an ongoing debate with myself about whether or not it’s a good thing. For a long time, I assumed everyone pondered life constantly, that everyone spent a large amount of time contemplating the universe, their place in it, whether or not there is a creator force, etc., etc., etc. It wasn’t until I married my second husband that I realized that isn’t true. I’d say, “Do you ever think about XYZ?” And he’d shrug and say, “No.” It was a shock to me. How can you not WONDER? Don’t you CARE?

But over time I also realized that those kinds of people seemed happier. Honestly, my ex just didn’t think that much about stuff. He took life as it came and adjusted as necessary. I envied him and others like him. Spared the angst of pondering life’s great questions, they seemed free to just BE. At the same time, I can’t imagine living absent the rich inner life that keep my mind occupied even in the most mundane of circumstances. I recognize that having this kind of heart and mind is what makes me who I am, and now that I’m older and I actually like myself, I wouldn’t want that to change. Still, I’m always trying to strike that elusive balance between letting my mind go where it will and not making myself crazy (which is probably why meditation has been such a lifesaver for me).

What about you? Are you a Seeker? Do you think it makes you happier or less happy? Would you change it if you could?

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08/15/14 Life , Uncategorized # , , , , , ,

You’re So Money

Time for this week’s movie update for all you fellow cinefiles.

😉

 

Saw BOYHOOD for our Friday matinee and it was every bit as wonderful and emotional and moving as I expected it to be. Filmed over twelve years using the same cast, the movie speaks to the universal struggle of growing up and growing older, and somehow you leave the theater feeling a little less alone on the journey. The film is in limited release (we had quite a few showings last week, only two this week, and I suspect it will be gone by next week), so jump at the chance to see it if you can.

 

Friday night we watched SWINGERS, a 90s movie featuring a young Vince Vaughn and John Favreaux. I’d seen it before, but it had been awhile and I’m glad I got to watch it with the kids. How else can we say, “You’re so money, and you don’t even know it,” to each other and get the reference? Streaming on Netflix.

 

Saturday the littlest Z and I watched DRINKING BUDDIES while everyone else was out. It was an entertaining look at the complexity of male/female friendships, although a bit slow on the pacing side. That said, it’s streaming on Netflix, and there’s something to be said for free movies.

 

We continued our late night Saturday tradition by watching the horror movie OCULUS. I was surprised by how good this one was. It was extremely well-written, with little of the gore that characterizes a lot of scary movies. Instead the film relies on psychological terror (my favorite!) and a tense round of flashbacks to the incident that shaped events in the modern day timeline. I was on the edge of my seat through most of the movie, and we all agreed that it was a win in terms of horror films. I think we might have streamed this one from Amazon for $2.99.

 

Happy Movie Watching, guys, and Happy Weekend!!

🙂

 

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08/11/14 Life , Writing # , , , ,

Dreaming is Good – Doing the Work is Better

estee-lauder-dream-quoteBack when I used to be in sales, I lived by the belief that if I focused my energy on activity rather than numbers, the numbers would come, that connecting with prospective clients, setting up meetings, writing as many proposals as possible, and making calls was more productive than obsessing about whether we were going to meet our goals.

The funny thing is, I recognize it now as a kind of mindfulness, a way to focus on the actions of the present moment rather than get caught up in the potential outcomes. Talk about foreshadowing for LIFE!

When it comes to writing, I’ve never thought much about “success”. It’s always been about the act itself. On those rare occasions when I get distracted by how well (or not) my books are performing, whether we’re ever going to get that TV deal for THIS WICKED GAME, and if my dream book will be picked up by my current publisher, I try to put my focus back on the activity and have a little faith that doing the work will take me where I want to go — or at least where I’m SUPPOSED to go. Sometimes it’s easier said than done, but this week I’m putting all my energy into finishing one project so that I can start revisions on PROMISES I MADE and then complete revisions to my adult book. After that? Well, there are concepts to develop and more books to write, of course!

I do believe there’s a time and place for dreaming, but at some point, we have to put our heads down and get the work done. In other words, dreaming is good — but taking action to make your dreams a reality is better. Wishing you all a joyful and productive week!

<3

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08/01/14 Life , Movie Monday , Uncategorized # , , , , , , ,

Compliance, Syriana, Resolution, Wish I Was Here

Since we watch so many movies in our house, I thought I’d start giving you guys a heads up on the ones we like, especially streaming since that’s a nice, low-cost form of entertainment, and I think we’re all familiar with the agony of wading through the thousands of available movie on five different streaming services.

Last weekend we got lucky with FOUR movies that are good bets all around. Following are the trailers and a brief rundown on each.

COMPLIANCE

Deeply unsettling, especially since it’s based on a true story. I couldn’t help wondering not only how much we’ve all been brainwashed into complying with any kind of authority figure, but how many young women would feel powerless in this kind of situation. Terrifying.

SYRIANA

A political thriller that explores the complex nature of our relationship with oil and the lengths governments across the globe — our own included — will go to secure it. I love movieswith intersecting story lines like this one (a la TRAFFIC).

RESOLUTION

We were looking for a horror movie and ended up with this Tribeca film about a guy who holes up with his best friend in the middle of nowhere to help him get clean. It was really disturbing, and there was tons of symbolism that I didn’t fully grasp until we read the analysis. One of those gems you feel fortunate to stumble upon.

And if you’re looking to go to the theater, WISH I WAS HERE was a fun romp through Zac Braff’s brain. It wasn’t technically perfect, but it was moving and real and I really enjoyed it. Plus, it has a an awesome soundtrack.

 

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07/29/14 Life #

Like A Child

Like_A_ChildIt took me a long time to love myself this much. Too long! Sometimes as adults we lose sight of the fact that we are still the same fragile souls as when we were children. The things we need now aren’t very different from the the things we needed then, and I truly believe that we can only realize our truest purpose if we are nurturing ourselves at the most basic of levels. This almost universally means feeding our souls with good food and good books, plenty of rest, time spent in nature and with loved ones, and speaking kindly and compassionately to ourselves. You don’t need permission from anyone to do these things for yourself — ever. Start today!

<3

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07/24/14 Life #

Don’t Forget to Look Up

Love this reminder to live in the moment instead of via our screens (even though I adore you guys — you know I do!).

<3

 

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07/21/14 Life # , , , , ,

Focus Creates Expansion

Focus_Expansion_QuoteSometimes the Universe is so quiet. Other times, it speaks so loudly we can’t ignore it. A couple of weeks ago I read an article written by a man about to divorce his wife. The article was centered around things he wished he’d known earlier in his marriage. The fact that I clicked through at all is a bit strange; I don’t read many relationship-related articles (I haven’t been in one for six years) nor divorce-related ones (mine is well behind me, as is any angst related to it). But for some reason I found myself reading anyway. It was all kind of basic stuff about appreciating someone and not sweating the small stuff. Then I came to this (I’m paraphrasing, because I don’t remember where I saw it);

That which you focus on expands.

I felt the beginnings of an epiphany, but I didn’t realize how much it affected me until I realized, two weeks later, that I was still thinking about it. About how true it is, in relationships, yes, but in life, too. Then a few days ago, I saw this on the Abraham-Hicks page;

“Continuing to tell stories of shortage only continues to contradict your desire for abundance, and you cannot have it both ways: You cannot focus upon unwanted and receive wanted… ”

And I immediately thought; “expansion.”

It’s kind of crazy that I never thought about this before now. But of course, it makes sense. It’s like looking out the window and seeing dew on the grass, then being surprised when it’s wet and cold on your bare feet. Of course, the things we focus on expand — in relationship, careers, love and life. Of course, we contradict our desire for abundance when we focus on shortage. We don’t necessarily feel like we’re focusing on the negative, but if we’re thinking about the things we don’t have, about what everyone else has, in terms of money or love or recognition or freedom or health, the energy we need to manifest those things for ourselves is diverted into the unproductive task of dissatisfaction. And dissatisfaction, my friends, is a full time job.

It all keys into something I deeply believe; that the universe has everything we need in abundance. There is no shortage of love or money or recognition, no finite “pot” that must be split 7 billion ways (although we can certainly make the argument that the current distribution doesn’t always seem fair, but that’s a different discussion). The trick, then, is to live it. To expand not just our thoughts, but ourselves. I almost typed “Easier said than done” here, but that’s not really true. It’s actually easier to focus on the things that are available to us. Which is everything. I truly believe that! Do you?

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Michelle Zink is the award-winning author of over seven novels. She lives in New York with too many teenagers and too many cats.
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Acclaim

"This arresting story takes readers to other planes of existence…"
- Booklist (starred review)


“An intense and captivating story…”
- VOYA (starred review)


“A fresh and engaging cast of characters, a page-turning plot and lyrical prose add up to an accomplished feat of storytelling…”
- The Guardian


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@MichelleZink
RT @IndieWire: The time has finally come: Here's every #BlackMirror episode ranked, from worst to best https://t.co/EL4SIJIAc9 https://t.co…
@dexahecimal @thehill I’m not drinking the Bernie is the Democrat’s Messiah Kool-Aid, nor the Bernie Would Have Won… https://t.co/Bb3oqozSV6
@thehill No, we don’t. Just because your “Democratic insiders” want Bernie doesn’t mean the rest of us do. We will… https://t.co/Kvul2MAb9q