Let me just say that pneumonia sucks. I totally understand now how this illness can kill people. There were a few nights when I wondered whether the combination of asthma and pneumonia would make me either faint or just stop breathing. That’s how hard I was coughing. The world would just start to go gray. My doc was giving me about 24 hours to get better, or I was going to land in the hospital.
Fortunately, I have come back to the world of the breathing — mostly. Inhalation is a sweet thing. Thanks to all of you for your emails, tweets and Facebook posts. Your encouragement meant a lot to me.
Before I launch on a Project: Happiness update, I wanted to let you know about some upcoming events and contests.
The 12-12-12 Leap Day Giveaway
I am a proud Leap Day baby. And this year — 2012 — I am celebrating my 12th real birthday. In honor of that, I am giving away 12 books through Goodreads — six copies of Surrender and six copies of Untamed. You need to be a member of Goodreads to participate, but signing up is easy. A lot of you probably already are Goodreads members.
To sign up for the Surrender giveaway, click here and scroll down the page to where you see “Win A Copy of This Book.” To sign up for the Untamed giveaway, click here, and do the same.
(Side note: If anyone has librarian privileges at Goodreads, please email me and let me know or message me through Goodreads. There are some things on my books that need to be updated, such as the new covers for Surrender and Untamed, and I don’t know how to make that happen.)
Unfortunately, I’ve had to limit participation in this giveaway to addresses in the U.S. and Canada. Now that I’m not working at the paper, I just can’t afford overseas postage. I feel terrible about that. I’ve never limited participation before, but you gotta do what you gotta do.
A MacKinnon’s Rangers special
Yes, Valentine’s Day is behind us, but on February 27, Under the Covers Book Blog is having me on as a guest. I’ll be bringing you a MacKinnon’s Rangers extra — a chapter-length look at Iain and Morgan offering Annie and Amalie some Valentine’s day affection. The mini-story takes place on Feb. 13-14, 1760, at the MacKinnon farm on the colonial New York frontier.
I didn’t want to give away any spoiler for Defiant, so I set the story just before Defiant opens. This means the action is taking place between the ending of Untamed and the epilogue of Untamed. Annie has just had her baby girl, and Amalie is eight months pregnant — and fearful of what is to come as women were back in the day when childbirth so often meant death. I find it very romantic when men find a way to nurture their women at times like these when what we think of as romance — hot sex, seduction — aren’t necessarily possible. Marriage isn’t a constant stream of hot sex dates so much as a commitment to live each day together and love each other fully. I try to give you some romance in daily life in this story, showing Iain and Morgan’s tender sides.
Those of you who want a taste of the MacKinnon brothers to tide you over to Defiant’s July 3 release date are in luck.
I’m uncertain of the details, but I plan to give a book or two away that day. Watch Facebook and Twitter (@Pamela_Clare) to get the live links.
Project: Happiness update
I wouldn’t say that Project: Happiness was derailed by pneumonia, but my focus was entirely on getting well. And that’s fitting, as a huge part of Project: Happiness for me is learning how to take care of my physical self.
I’m a history geek, as you know, and in my study of the ancient world — 10 years of Latin, people — I was always very touched by the old Latin adage, “Mens sana in corpore sano.” This translates to, “A healthy mind in a healthy body.”
It was an ideal to which philosophers at least adhered and which grew out of the almost identical Greek concept: “Νοῦς ὑγιὴς ἐν σώματι ὑγιεῖ.”
It’s amazing to me how ancient people’s saw the world so clearly and understood human life so well. We hire personal trainers and nutritionists and spiritual gurus to impress this concept on us today. So many people think starving themselves or pushing themselves to exercise and be thin or muscular or physically perfect is the key to happiness. Others spend years educating themselves or pursing worthwhile intellectual work — only to sit at a desk 24/7 and find that, while their minds are strong, their bodies resemble nothing so much as a pile of mashed potatoes.
How many people truly find balance? Probably not many.
I would like to be so bold as to propose an update to the Greco-Roman ideal and offer this: “A healthy spirit and a healthy mind in a health body.”
I see people as a blending of the three — body, mind and spirit. Each plays its role in leading us toward growth in this life and toward meaningful happiness. Neglect any one of the three, and the potential of our lives diminishes. Oftentimes, people neglect spirit until age or illness deprives them of their bodies. Each is an equally important part of our human existence. Although I’m not religious in the traditional sense, I think of them as a kind of personal trinity — the Three in One that is reflective of something higher.
I’ve had some time to think about how I want to undertake Project: Happiness. And, yes, I mean to create a road map, a way to quantify making qualitative progress in my life. After 47 years, I’ve concluded that we make progress in our lives when we devote true energy toward our desired goals. If you have no plan, if you have no road map, you have no way to measure your efforts or their results. In other words, shit doesn’t happen unless you make it happen.
As my grandmother used to say, “Wish in one hand, and piss in the other, and see which one fills up first.”
This is no longer about wishing. It’s about achieving. I don’t have decades left to goof around. What I want to be, I must become. What I am tomorrow is what I’ve built today. If I have a goal, I need to draw it out of my heart and make it real. As strange as it may be to say that happiness is something one can set out to achieve, I believe it truly is, not by chasing it or going to parties or escaping into other distractions, but by doing the hard work of becoming the person I was meant to be in all areas of my life.
In upcoming blogs, I’ll focus on each of these areas — body, mind and spirit — and the steps I plan to take and the challenges I know I will face.
To start with, I am thinking each day of what I am doing for each of these three areas of my life. What did I do for my body today? What did I do for my mind? What did I do for my spirit? A day that involves adequate rest, exercise and nutrition, together with satisfying work and prayer or meditation could be considered a successful, balanced day, for example. By consciously planning to achieve something for each part of myself, I hope to bring balance to my life — and to expose the areas where I need to work harder.
So stay tuned for the first exploration: Body.
And, yes, and more MacKinnon’s Rangers, too!
Plus, watch for I-Team news!