Let’s Get it On

 

 

A lot of writers use music to set the scene. Especially when it comes to those scenes. A little musical accompaniment as you try and get your freak onto paper.

True confessions! I don’t write to music. I need absolute silence or I start singing lyrics into my hairbrush. Then the fantasy starts in my head and I’m rocking the power ballad to over 20,00 people at Madison Square Gardens. The book lies forgotten and unloved as I am suddenly adored by thousands of slathering fans as they stand enraptured by the power of my thrilling vocals.

All in all, best to turn off the Spotify and let me do this in silence. But fear not. I asked my good friend and fellow Wordy Woman, Cynthia St. Aubin for her top 10 songs to write sex by.

In no particular order she came up with this.

 

 

 

 

Make it Rain by Ed Sheehan https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MnhaKUBgJSE

Cry to Me by Solomon Burke https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EPWCbthc9tw

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And what musical list would be complete without:

 

There you have it. Cynthia’s top ten grooves to get her in the mood.

 

What would be on your list?

 

Sample Positively Pippa

Sample Positively Pippa

 

Just a Taste of my upcoming release, Positively Pippa #1 Ghost Falls Series. The book releases at the end of the month and I’m so exciting to share it with you. I am running a number of exciting giveaways prerelease.

 

  1. I am offering a custom made downloadable coloring book for any preorder of any of my books. All you need to do is send along proof of preorder to sarah@sarahhegger.com
  2. Watch out for the blog release tour starting May 19th, I’m offering free books as well as three Ulta gift cards so you can give yourself a makeover a la Pippa. More details on my website.
  3. I am also hosting a Facebook release party on May 30th (release day!) and just for attending you might win a $400 gift card to StitchFix for a wardrobe makeover – your very own Pippa. Click the link to take part.
  4. And finally just by subscribing to my newsletter I am offering a chance to win a custom made bracelet from local Colorado jeweler Sima Gilady

And having chewed your ear off about all of that, let me give you that threatened excerpt:

 

“Shit, Isaac. If the plumber needs quarter-inch pipe, get him quarter-inch pipe.” Matt threw open the door to his truck as he half listened to another lame excuse. He could recite them by heart at this point anyway.

“No, I can’t get the pipe. I’m at Phi’s house now.” He sighed as Isaac went with the predictable. “Yes, again, and I can’t come now. You’re going to have to fix this yourself.”

He slammed his door and keyed off his phone. Smartphones! He missed the days of being able to slam a receiver down. Jabbing your finger at those little icons didn’t have the same release.

When God handed out brains to the Evans clan, he must have realized he was running low for the family allotment and been stingier with the youngest members. Between Isaac and their sister, Jo, there could only be a couple of functioning neurons left. And their performance, like a faulty electrical circuit, flickered in and out.

He grabbed his toolbox from the back of the truck. This had to be the ugliest house in history, as if Hogwarts and the Addams family mansion had a midair collision and vomited up Philomene’s Folly.

His chest swelled with pride as he stared at it. He’d built every ugly, over-the-top, theatrical inch of this heap of stone. He’d bet he was the only man alive who could find real, honest to God, stone gargoyles for downspouts. Not the plaster molding kind. Not for Diva Philomene St. Amor. Nope, she wanted them carved out of stone and mounted across the eaves like the front row of a freak show.

“Hey, Matt,” a kid called from the stables forming one side of the semicircular kitchen yard.

“Hey, yourself.” He couldn’t remember the name of Phi’s latest rescue kid doing time in her kitchen yard. Kitchen yard! In this century. Diva Philomene wanted a kitchen yard, so a kitchen yard she got, along with her stables.

“I want a building to capture the nobility of their Arabian ancestors thundering across the desert.” She’d got it. Heated floors, vaulted ceilings, and pure cedar stalls—now housing every ratty, mismatched, swaybacked nag the local humane society couldn’t house and didn’t want to waste a bullet on. A smile crept onto his face. You had to love the crazy old broad.

He skirted the circular herb garden eating up the center of the kitchen yard. A fountain in the shape of a stone horse trough trickled happily. He’d have to remind her to drain it and blow the pipes before winter. He didn’t want to replace the piping again next spring.

The top half of the kitchen door stood open and he unlatched the bottom half before stepping into the kitchen. The AGA range gave off enough heat to have sweat sliding down his sides before he took two steps. He opened the baize door to the rest of the house and yelled, “Phi!”

He hadn’t even known what a baize door was at nineteen, but the Diva had educated him because she wanted one and it became his headache to get her one.

“Mathieu!” The Frenchifying of his name was all the warming he got before Philomene appeared at the top of her grand, curving walnut staircase. Thirty-two rises, each six feet wide and two feet deep leading from the marble entrance hall to the gallery above.

The soft pink of the sun bled through the stained-glass windows and bathed the old broad in magic. Her purple muumuu made a swishing noise as she descended, hands outstretched, rings glittering in the bejeweled light. “Darling.”

She made his teeth ache. “Hold on to the railing, Phi, before you break your neck.” It had taken a crew of eight men to put that railing in, and nearly killed the carpenter to carve a dragon into every inch of it.

She pressed a kiss on both his cheeks with a waft of the same heavy, musky perfume she’d always worn. She smelled like home. “You came.”

“Of course, I came.” He bent and returned her embrace. “That’s how this works. You call, I drop everything and come.”

A wicked light danced in her grass green eyes, still bright and brilliant beneath the layers and layers of purple goo and glitter. She’d been a knockout in her youth, still had some of that beautiful woman voodoo clinging to her. If you doubted that for an instant, there were eight portraits and four times that many photos in this house to set you right. Or you could just take a look at Pippa—if you could catch a quick glance as she flew through town. He made it his business to grab an eyeful when he could.

“I am overset, Mathieu, darling.” She pressed her hand to her gem-encrusted bosom.

“Of course you are.” The Diva never had a bad day or a problem. Nope, she was overset, dismayed, perturbed, discomposed and on the occasion her dishwasher broke down, discombobulated.

“It is that thing in the kitchen.” She narrowly missed taking his eye out with her talons as she threw her hand at the baize door.

Her kitchen might look like a medieval reenactment, but it was loaded for bear with every toy and time-saving device money could buy—all top of the line. “What thing, Phi?”

“The water thingy.”

“The faucet?”

She swept in front him, leading the way into the kitchen like Caesar entering Rome in triumph. “See.” He dodged her hand just in time. “It drips incessantly and disturbs my beauty rest.”

He clenched his teeth together so hard his jaw ached. He ran a construction company big enough to put together four separate crews and she called him for a dripping faucet. “I could have sent one of my men around to fix that. A plumber.”

“But I don’t want one of your men, darling.” She beamed her megawatt smile at him. “I want you.”

There you had it. She wanted him and he came. Why? Because he owed this crazy, demanding, amazing woman everything, and the manipulative witch knew it. He shrugged out of his button-down shirt and pulled his undershirt out of his jeans. He was going to get wet and he’d be damned if he got faucet grunge all over his smart shirt.

Phi took the shirt from him and laid it tenderly over the back of one of her kitchen chairs. “This is a very beautiful shirt, Matt.”

“I’m a busy and important man now, Phi. A man with lots of smart shirts.”

She grinned at him, and stroked the shirt. “I am very proud of you, Matt.”

Damn it all to hell, if that didn’t make him want to stick out his chest like the barnyard rooster strutting across Phi’s kitchen yard. He turned the faucet on and then off again. No drip. “Phi?”

“It’s underneath.” She wiggled her fingers at the cabinet.

He got to his knees and opened the doors. Sure enough, a small puddle of water gathered on the stone flags beneath the down pipe. Good thing Phi had insisted on no bottoms to her kitchen cabinets. It had made it a bitch to get the doors to close without jamming on the stone floor, but right now it meant he wouldn’t be replacing cabinets in his spare time.

“You should be out on a date,” Phi said from behind him.

“If I was out on a date, Phi, I wouldn’t be here fixing your sink.”

“Yes, you would.”

Yeah, he would. He turned off the water to the sink. “Have you got some towels or something?”

She bustled into the attached laundry and reappeared with an armload of fluffy pink towels.

Wheels crunched on the gravel outside the kitchen and Phi dropped the towels on the floor next to him. She tottered over to the window to stare. A huge smile lit her face and she gave off one of those ear-splitting trills that had made her the world’s greatest dramatic soprano. Everyone, from the mailman to a visiting conductor, got the same happy reception.

He leaned closer to get a better look at the pipes beneath the sink. Were those scratch marks on the elbow joint? Neat furrows all lined up like someone had done that on purpose. He crawled into the cabinet and wriggled onto his back. They didn’t make these spaces for men his size.

“Mathieu?” Phi craned down until her face entered his field of vision. Her painted-on eyebrows arched across her parchment-pale face. “I have a visitor.”

“Is that so?” What the hell, he always played along.

“Indeed.” Her grin was evil enough to have him stop his tinkering with the wrench in midair. “I thought you might like to know about this visitor.”

The kitchen door opened. A pair of black heels tapped into view. The sort of shoes a man wanted to see wrapped around his head, and at the end of a set of legs he hadn’t seen since her last trip to Ghost Falls—Christmas for a fly-by visit. His day bloomed into one of those eye-aching blue sky and bright sunlight trips into happy.

Welcome home, Pippa Turner.

 

You can preorder your copy of Positively Pippa from any of the following places:

 

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2g19kUQ

iBooks: http://apple.co/2fUzwkR

Nook: http://bit.ly/2fo0T27

Kobo: http://bit.ly/2fhes62

 

Accentuating the Postive

Accentuating the Postive

What is it about early popular music that has such an effect on us to this day? There’s a simplicity there, yet it’s matched with so much musicality. Lyrics are to the point, melody is often jaunty and lively. They are meant to make us smile, shuffle our feet and snap our fingers. Jazz, big band and American standards are about celebrating life and “the little things”. That’s why we still dream of a white Christmas in the winter months, dance in the streets in the summer and croon “At Last” when we find true love.

 

 

The sense of wonderment that is so strong in those songs is much harder to find in popular music today. There’s a sense of hope and a feeling of brightness in the music of yesterday that we turn to over and over again. That’s precisely why Pippa, the heroine of my upcoming new release, as someone whose career is in fashion, takes her cue from the line, and song title, “Accentuate the Positive.”

When Accentuate the Positive was first released in 1944, things were a little different. A song inspired by a religious sermon, its lyrics convey the message that a bit of good cheer goes a long way in improving quality of life. It became a hit because it was such an inspiring message with a catchy sound. It was a time in American history when we needed to hear it and we were looking for a path to a sunnier outlook. The opening verse asserts:

 

“You’ve got to accentuate the positive
Eliminate the negative
Latch on to the affirmative
Don’t mess with Mister In-Between”

 

The straightforward message, delivered with charming directness and exactitude, is that there is no need to let life drag you down when there’s a lot of good out there to take hold of. Furthermore, it suggests that complexity is gratuitous and unnecessary and muddling about in gray areas is not beneficial in uplifting the mood. It definitely sounds a little reductive by today’s standards. Its upbeat theme works much better in modern time when applied specifically. Which brings me to Pippa!

 

 

 

Pippa’s career has been built around the idea that, when it comes to clothing, fashion and outward appearance, women always can, and should, Accentuate the Positive. Unlike the broad concept that drives the song, Pippa’s motto connotes an understanding that contemporary style should cultivate positivity, when there are a lot of ways the realities of modern life can be a little harsh. In the first part of the 20th century, Americans relied on music and some aspects of popular culture to brighten their darker days. In 2017, we may be slightly more able to accept the ambiguities of life “Messing with Mister In-Between” as it were, but we also have more opportunities to look on the bright side as well. How we dress is one of those ways.

 

While the simple times of yesteryear were more of a one size fits all, in terms of what we wore, but on a larger scale as well, Pippa rejects that idea in her work: self-expression and self-confidence are her dictums. Accentuate the Positive in today’s world means knowing yourself. Knowing what makes you feel good and what brings you the most joy as your unique self, celebrating your individuality and distinctiveness. One line in particular we find in the song has a very direct tone:


“Have faith or pandemonium
Liable to walk upon the scene”

 

The idea is that staying optimistic brings about a sense that we have the ability to take charge in our lives. While still certainly applicable, we are more likely to forgive ourselves the odd mood swing or rough day, not because we’ve entirely lost that sense of hope, but because we know that it’s all a part of “being who you are.” And really, a well-fitting skirt or fabulous pair of shoes can be a very useful reminder of that.

 

Could Tom Hardy Get Any Better?

Could Tom Hardy Get Any Better?

Perhaps nothing is a more inspiring story than someone able to turn their life around, rise from the ashes, take a bad situation and make something good happen. It’s a great narrative not just because it’s inspirational and provides you with a sense of hope, although those are wonderful effects, but also because these stories are humbling. They remind us, nothing is permanent and many things are not as they seem – whether life is going perfectly well or heartbreakingly terrible at the present moment, there is more that’s still unwritten. Any circumstance can turn around and take a different direction and there are a lot of things at any given moment we may not fully comprehend. Having said that, we do have an awful lot of power at our hands as well. Respecting that which we don’t know (yet) or understand, while finding the inner strength to take on life’s challenges is a very exciting path to find oneself traversing.

 

Which brings me to the subject matter I really want to discuss – attractive, fascinating men. Actually, one man in particular, Tom Hardy. In case you don’t know who he is, allow me to significantly improve your day with a brief introduction . Tom Hardy is a British actor who has appeared in movies and on television since 2001, and is arguably best known for his starring role in Mad Max Fury Road, but you may also know him from his roles in Bane or Inception. Here is an informative article (with photos) if you’d like to dive in further. Currently, he stars in a TV show called Taboo, which is a BBC series that is being aired in the US on the FX network. Taboo is a dark, gritty drama period, which he also co-created, where Tom Hardy plays the main character, James Delaney, whose father dies, leading him to come home to England after an extended period of time in Africa. It’s a morally ambivalent role in which the threat of brutality and malevolence seem imminent. These themes couldn’t lie further in opposition from his real-life personality. He is known as kind, warm and even gentle, extending a lot of empathy and compassion to creatures great and small.

 

 

Tom Hardy has spoken very openly about his struggles with addiction. He was a very heavy drug user in his 20’s, and found himself spiraling out of control just as his acting career was starting to take off. He’s been clean for almost 15 years but he believes having been in dark spots in his life has shaped his work. Now in 2017, he is a successful actor and long-time animal lover who is known to be incredibly close and loving with his dogs. After reading all this, you may understand why I am so obsessed, uh, I mean, IMPRESSED, with Tom Hardy. He represents the vulnerability and fragility in all of us, but has overcome great obstacles to achieve incredible things – all while relying on love and openness to stay on track.

 

 

Which brings us back to my earlier thoughts. The idea that we can turn around even the most difficult and hopeless-seeming situation and make that the basis for a better life. Like Tom, we first must admit to ourselves that it may not be a simple task. In my opinion, difficult and impossible are in direct opposition to each other. Acknowledging that something won’t be easy is also recognizing that real steps can be taken to achieve that goal. Tom isn’t just an example of someone taking on challenges and coming out victorious, he’s a reflection of the human condition that exists in each one of us. Each of us is a walking contradiction – beautiful but also tormented, grateful but also full of yearning, blessed but also troubled. And just like him, we are full of promise, full of potential. We make choices every day that changes the course of our lives, while also living in the magic of each moment, knowing that there are forces that we can’t control, that write our stories alongside of us and make each life unique and amazing.

 

Batting 1000

Batting 1000

1113998_1346967573593_full It appears as though the popularity of makeup only seems to be growing recently, and particularly in my home as my girls embed themselves in the dreaded teens. They’ve launched a makeup revolution and dragged me with them. And why not – makeup is fun, it’s transformative and it requires skill and practice to perfect. It can change not just the way you look but the way you feel, even the way you view your surroundings. I’ve recently become obsessed with false eyelashes. I’m blaming my girls—let’s go with that. When I look out from underneath long, luxurious lashes I see a rose-colored world before me. I’m inspired to seek out beauty and loveliness wherever I can. And bat my lashes, there is definitely a lot of batting going on.

 

Makeup and beauty are related, but I don’t want to conflate the two—they aren’t synonymous. Beauty has different meanings across cultures, over different time periods, even from one individual to the next. Makeup, although a tool to achieve certain beauty standards, holds its own place. If you think of beauty as a city, makeup is a building in one neighborhood of that city, perhaps an adorable two-floor walk up with bay windows and excellent lighting. Using makeup is just an incredibly personal act. Anyone who does or has done it, probably remembers with a certain amount of warm, happy sentiment, learning to apply and wear it, and, like a tattoo or a keepsake, a particular beauty product carries with it an immediate recollection of certain feelings and experiences.

 

Our attitude about makeup and beauty changes over the course of our own lives. What we may have loved about makeup in our teens and twenties, the fact that it makes you look older, more mature or more rebellious, is no longer something that appeals to us. But the intensely personal nature of makeup, the fact that it markedly changes how we look and feel, affects our level of confidence, and how much or how little to wear is such an individualized choice, that it infuses each tube of lipstick, fluffy brush and eyeshadow pot with a deeply touching degree of meaning.

 

 

In my upcoming contemporary release, Positively Pippa, the heroine is a girly-girl, who loves makeup, fashion and everything flirty, frilly and fun. She is based on TLC’s Stacy London (host of What Not To Wear and Love, Lust or Run.) Her appreciation for aesthetics has in part inspired me to experiment with makeup. When I apply false lashes, which is by no means an easy feat and requires a steady hand and a delicate approach with the glue (that crap gets everywhere), I can’t help but think of Pippa and my time with her. When I brought her to life in the book, she appeared at my side as an exciting, bubbly BFF, inspiring me to push my boundaries and explore new parts of myself. From this point forward, whenever I put on, or even see, a pair of jaunty eyelashes in their little purple box, I’ll think of Pippa and her affect on me. The way she exhorts her “clients” to be the best version of themselves.

 

Famous makeup-fan Tammy Faye Baker is known for saying “Honey, I am going to my grave with my eyelashes and my makeup on.” That’s a woman who knows who she is! The way you feel and think about makeup, your relationship to it, defines who you are in so many ways. Your makeup is a narrative of your own individual, unique truth. At the end of the day when you take off your makeup and lashes, make sure that you’ve written the story you want to tell, because that’s all that matters.

 

sarahsig

 

 

 

Confessions of a Creep

I like music, really I do, but it’s not something I need around me all the time. In fact, being a little noise intolerant it can get on my nerves if it plays constantly in the background. Which doesn’t mean I don’t have a have a perfectly curated playlist that inspires me, motivates me and informs my writing style and character development. I wouldn’t envy anyone trying to figure me out on the basis of this soundtrack, it’s eclectic to say the least, from Leonard Cohen’s “Dance Me to the End of Love” to to the Sugar Babes “Too Lost in You”,  rubbing shoulders with Depeche Mode to JJ Cale. My oldest daughter calls my playlist “lyrical angst”, she may be onto something.

One song on my playlist is an upbeat little number you may be familiar with – Creep, by Radiohead. I am not particularly Radiohead fan, but I appreciate the sentiment of that era. (Lyrical angst at its finest). Grunge rock was all about not fitting in, not falling in line, floating in some kind of undefined space where you were unreachable to many others, but at the same time, being pretty much OK with that. It’s a fascinating perspective on life because it’s an impossible one to fake. In the 60’s you could become a flower child by growing out your hair and acquiring a suede vest, in the 80’s the right clothes and car could get you most places where you wanted to be – but disenchantment and alienation are hard to feign. A song like Creep is a prime example of that. While in decades past recording artists may have been singing about their unrequited love for a boy or girl or laying out their seduction plans, or how to carry out a particular dance move, these songs are about the tense relationship we have with ourselves. Creep shows you a way to meet up with your insecurities and fears, albeit in a dimly lit, shabby room, and shake hands with them, maybe hang out if everyone’s schedule is open for a bit.

If you aren’t familiar with the song, here’s the YouTube clip. Really listen to the lyrics and then tell me some little part of you doesn’t relate to this.

 

 

 

These words reflect a common misconception many of us labor under, that other people have things figured out and their life is pleasant, fun, effortless. Meanwhile, we view ourselves as inherently lacking in the ability to tap into that life, as if we are inhabitants of an entirely different world. The lyric “what the hell am I doing here” always strikes me as extremely poignant. Where else would he be? In what scenario would he feel like he “belonged’? If we ask these questions either in the context of the song, or to ourselves, we would get some very thought-provoking answers.

But truthfully, we’ve all felt this way at some point in our lives. We look at something from the outside and determine it’s somehow better, superior to, above us. We’ve all felt like that creep who feels utterly out of place among those he admires. What’s amazing is that the listener is made to feel special by that song, by being understood and accepted. I want my readers to have that same experience, to recognize themselves in my book and to make that emotional connection. The real, raw nature of grunge let a generation of young people truly be themselves, warts and all. The legacy of that genre, and a song like Creep, is that we are all a little more interested in meeting those warty parts of ourselves, and seeing them in others. I am a very big advocate of that, and I hope that readers relate to my characters, see themselves in the pages of my books, and they all enjoy hanging out together for a little while.

 

sarahsig

The Food Debate

The Food Debate

womenI have an ongoing food debate with myself. At forty-six, and no longer having that kick-ass metabolism I had a twenty -six, or even the reasonably robust one I had at thirty-six, I seem to be constantly caught in the love myself as I am vs. get back into shape dilemma.

In the blue corner, and weighing the accumulated heft of being pretty much a constant companion, is my “not good enough” voice, reminding me I need to be thinner, look younger, look prettier. Facing off against that, in the red corner, is my newly emerged 40-something sense of self that really doesn’t give a crap about being anybody else’s version of me.

I have two wardrobes, one for each point of the pendulum I am on at any given moment. Compounding my confusion is my love of food. I’ve never been one of those “food is fuel” types. Perish the thought! I love to eat. Eating good food is a sensual treat for me, and I really think life is too short to forego great food for the rest of it.

Then you add the good health debate into the mix and things really start to mess with my head.

unknown-1The nearest I can come to an answer, is to constantly strive for balance. Somewhere in between “I want to eat my face off every day” and “I need to be a Barbie” there is a happy middle ground. But my middle ground might not be yours. For me, and at this point in my life, I am prepared to forego certain foods for the sake of my shape. My size, rightly or wrongly, impacts how I feel about myself and I need to keep my self-esteem in the positive spectrum. I don’t need to be perfect, but there is a certain size where maintenance is a bit of work, but not all consuming, and I am happy with what I see in the mirror. And it’s not anybody else’s idea of what is right for me, but mine.

Conversely, I am not prepared to make the sort of sacrifices it would take to have the body I did at eighteen. I simply don’t want to spend that much time in a gym, or crying into my kale.

I’d love to say I look in the mirror and love what I see all the time. And I wouldn’t even be writing this if I did. I can blame society, I can blame mass consciousness, I can even blame my mother, but at the end of the day I have to take responsibility for how I view myself. I have allowed all these factors to take up rent-free space in my brain and until I can oust my unwelcome tenants, I need to find a balance that works for me. And as importantly, find a balance that releases my teenage girls from this tangle.

sarahsig

 

Facing Fashion Forward into Fall (10 Must-haves of your work-from-home wardrobe)

Facing Fashion Forward into Fall (10 Must-haves of your work-from-home wardrobe)

With Fall around the corner, back to school trends in stores, Fall/Winter runway looks emerging and clothing starting to make the transition from bright and breezy to more muted colors and heavier fabrics, none of this affects me in the slightest. As an author, I work from home, and while I may not wear mascara, heels or lip gloss every day, I still bring my personal style to the table (or laptop as the case may be). You’ll find me carrying out a crucial daily beauty regiment consisting of splashing cold water on my face, and looking divinely disheveled during my grueling commute, a shuffle from bed to the computer, coffee in hand and a patch of dog hair fastened securely somewhere on my person. It may seem challenging to pull all of this together, so, as the new season approaches, I thought I would share with you my must-haves for the work-at-home woman. While fashions may change, certain staples will always work for sitting on various surfaces around the house and answering the door for deliveries and the occasional plumber or handyman.

The yoga pant of near endless variety-2

 

First of all, one cannot launch oneself into a day not-at-the-office without an ever-flattering yoga pant, which can be in differing shades of black (from washing and wearing over a period of time) and vary in length from ankle to half an inch above the ankle, and, on casual Friday, a fun version that comes up mid-calf.

 

Footwear repellant even to the dog

 

You may not have co-workers, but you could have a faithful friend nearby, your beloved pet, who sheds a tremendous volume of hair on your clothes and furniture. Your favorite accessory, an incredibly unappealing pair of shoes, might be too horrid even for your typically easy going associate. But rest assured that it won’t affect your working environment, a comfortable place for him or her to curl up will go a surprisingly long way in smoothing over these disagreements.

 

the track pant of unknown origin and size

 

When the day calls for an even more formless look, reach for a pair of track pants. Ideally, you should be unsure of how exactly you came upon them and what size or shape they were meant to accommodate. You may be tempted to rush out and purchase this staple, but resist. The right pair will mysteriously appear alongside your yoga pants.

 

the dizzying variable mismatched socks

 

 

The right footwear is a must, and here I am referring not to the afore-mentioned atrocity, or a pair of rabbit slippers (or unicorns, flamingos, whatever you’re into, feel free to have fun here), but to a mind-blowing number of mis-matched socks, in an array of colors and styles, forever destined to wander the earth (or your livingroom) in search of its lost counterpart. Recycle and reuse, give the homeless sock a purpose.

 

the t-shirt nobody would claim ownership of

 

On weekend shopping excursions, you may find unique vintage pieces or wardrobe gems that might be pricey, but work flawlessly with any outfit. That has absolutely nothing to do with this next garment, a T-shirt that nobody could be bothered to claim after it went in the wash or somehow otherwise made it’s way into your house, but owes its charm to being ridiculously comfortable.

 

the foundation farmer of uncertain age and undeniable comfort

 

You may think you’ve nailed your outfit of a track pant well-tied at the hip and a novelty shirt, but it’s all for naught without the right undergarment, a really, really comfortable bra that you’ve had for so long you can’t recall if you purchased it to pair with a very old, tattered shirt you’ve worn for 3 days in a row or for a special evening on the couch in a cardigan, also quite old and no longer holding it’s original shape.

 

the shapeless , fluffy bathrobe

 

It may not surprise you to know, that one piece you absolutely cannot live without, as an author who can go days without walking outside, is a fluffy bathrobe, preferably well-worn, shapeless and in a drab color, so as not to detract from the accidental t-shirt.

 

the cardigan of questionable hue

 

Who can imagine a life of working from home without a trusty cardigan, one that’s positively soothing when slipped on, to ward off the mid-shuffle morning chill, and which was definitely a very different shade of whatever it is now when you first came to possess it.

 

the ever versatile pajama-2

 

Is it a day when you can’t be bothered to change out of what you were sleeping in last night? With the right accessories, your pajamas can be the perfect ensemble in which to battle writer’s block, or procrastinate on social media when you have a massive amount of editing to work on. They transition easily from bed to desk to couch.

 

accessories are king

 

Of course, no outfit is complete without accessories, most of which are completely and unquestionably functional, such as your reading glasses, and the rest of which you bought with the best intentions but have been laying in wait, unused, for such a length of time you probably decided the statute of limitations had run out on them, such as your Fitbit, in mint condition, still in its packaging. If you don’t need reading glasses, you might consider purchasing a clear glass pair. Nothing adds to your intelligent wordsmith persona like a pair of glasses.

 

I hope you’ve found this helpful in planning your fall (or year-round) wardrobe, express yourself, have fun, and remember that no coffee stain is too bold when you’ve got the confidence to pull it off!

 

the possibilities are limitless

 

Just A Taste of “Conquering William” #3 Sir Arthur’s Legacy

Just A Taste of “Conquering William” #3 Sir Arthur’s Legacy

ConqueringWilliam - SarahHegger2If she lived to be a hundred, Alice never wanted to attend another wedding, particularly not as the bride. The odor of roasting meats almost undid her, and she took a long draught from her water goblet. A bride did not vomit all over her wedding feast.

Her father, face ruddy with wine, sidled up and pinched her side. “God’s teeth! Smile, you stupid wench. I have found you a good ‘un this time. Far better than a butter-face like you could hope for.” Goblet held high, he strode away, sprinkling wine across the heads of those he passed. His forced laughter grated on her ear.

To her right, her groom drank from his goblet. In a deep, smooth voice, he murmured to his mother on his other side. As he shifted, his muscular thigh pinned her skirt to the bench.

Loathe to draw his attention, Alice tugged the dull brown wool.
He inclined his head with a smile, moved his leg, and freed her skirt. “I beg your pardon.”

God save her from her beautiful husband. “No matter.”
“May I serve you more water?” Eyes deeper blue than the lake beneath the castle twinkled at her. Candlelight gleamed off his dark hair and clung to his finely etched face.

“Thank you, but nay.”

With another smile, he turned back to his mother.

She would prefer if he did not smile so much. Or did not smell so appealing. His subtle woodsy-sweet spice teased her every time he leaned nearer. He did quivering things to her innards. How could she hope to hold a man such as this? Atop the scarred table, their trencher sat between them, still full of mutton, gravy oozing into a brown puddle on the table. It couldn’t be worse. Her father had outdone himself this time. Three husbands he’d chosen for her and this one, by far, the most daunting.

Aye, but William of Anglesea would make fine children. Tall, strong boys, broad and powerfully built like their sire, and girls to take after his mother and sisters. A child of her own. A downy head nestled against her breast, a tiny body cradled in her arms. She touched her palm to her flat, empty belly, and put her hand back on the table before anyone could notice. Even butter- faces had dreams.

A jester before the dais capered about, ringing his bells and doing his best to enthuse the assembly with joviality. Poor man raised only titters of amusement. He must have come with her father for the wedding, for they had no resident jester at Tarnwych. A few determined souls cheered the jester on his way, and a band of minstrels took his place. The cheery pipes led the lutes into songs praising the bride’s beauty and the groom’s virility. Could they not spare her those? She’d wager the minstrels would change their songs when they left for the inn tonight.

The bawdy ballad of Alice of Tarnwych and William of Anglesea. She made up her own words to the cheerful wedding song the minstrel band warbled.

The peacock ruts with a dull, brown wren,

A dull brown wren, a dull brown wren

The peacock ruts with a dull, brown wren,

Fa, la, la, la la.

William, the peacock, with his striking looks and finery had stood beside her in the chapel, and the top of her head had only reached his shoulder. How the ladies in attendance had sighed as he dipped his dark head and recited his vows to her, the dull, little wren in her brown wool dress with her atrocious hair confined to a wimple. Both William’s sisters boasted glorious flaxen hair the hue of summer wheat, not brazen red. Willowy and graceful they glided in rich, silk slippers like butterflies, whilst she stomped around in her sensible clogs.

Sister Julianna leant in and kept her voice low. “This is a bad business. This family is sown with wild, spoiled seed.”

Then there was that. Whispers of the taint on Sir Arthur’s beautiful family carried even this far north.

“It is time.” Gracious and lovely, Lady Mary of Anglesea rose with a sweet smile for Alice. “Shall we?”

“Aye, let us get to the meat of the matter.” Smug grin eating his face, her father thumped the table.

Rising too, Sir William offered his hand to her. Grip warm and sure, he helped her climb over the bench, then straightened her skirts for her. No fault could she find with her groom’s manners. As far as she could see, he had no faults at all. Men like William should marry their faultless equals. How different would this be if she looked like his mother and sisters? If she could enter his bed with her head held high, confident in her groom’s delight in her beauty.

The other women stood with her. Lady Faye, flawless and serene in her pregnancy, golden hair framing her enchanting face. Her second new sister-in-law, Beatrice. Bea, they called her, and on occasion Sweet Bea. Not as fair as Faye, but her pretty countenance made more so by the lively march of humor across it.

God mocked her by surrounding her with all this overbearing comeliness.

“Come along, then.” Beatrice’s smile stretched false with forced good cheer. Nay, they no more welcomed this match for their brother than she did.

Another wedding night and she would endure.

 

Conquering William releases August 30th:

Amazon

iBooks

Kobo

Barnes & Noble

Today I am Mindful…

Today I am Mindful…

The female heroines in the books I write face struggles that we all are probably familiar with, identity, searching for love or meaning, defining themselves and their close relationships. One quality I consider very important to my work, that allows me to tap into the conflicts and challenges I explore, is compassion. I feel it towards my characters and I hope that my books inspire the same among my readers as well. Love after all isn’t a quantifiable constant, it changes shape and form depending on the people who share it in any particular instance. The emotion and connection you felt towards your first love and your current one (assuming they aren’t one and the same) as equally deep and meaningful as they may have been, are different from each other. These emotional blurred lines, filling our hearts and thoughts with passion, joy, memory, they are the spaces I attempt to fill with my writing. When a reader relates to a story I’m telling, we embark on a journey that ultimately will transform us both.

 

Compassion allows me to open my heart and mind and peer into worlds that otherwise may be closed off to me. Compassion also lights the way for me to see the bigger picture, that as human beings we can have vastly different experiences but we are all deeply connected. We may love in different ways but we are still all seeking the same things at the end of the day. Therefore, awareness of the need to act with kindness and tenderness is a driving force for me. It’s at once wonderful and slightly painful to be in that position, and from that seat I observe very keenly the ways that love and compassion fails in certain situations and allows for innocence to be stolen or violated. In the past few months, we have witnessed several difficult events that, especially compounded, have taken an emotional toll. At their core is the inability of an individual to see humanity in someone beyond themselves, to see another person or people as valuable and each life to be cared for and cherished. We can’t take away what’s been done, and every ounce of grief and anger, every tear that we’ve shed is justified, but I believe the next logical step is to move forward, with compassion and mindfulness. What we have to do now is our very best to thwart events such as these in the future. I’d like to take a cue from some extraordinary people already taking such action. You may have seen this story on social media, where a teacher in the UK illustrated the effects of bullying to children with the help of apples as effective visual aids. We can also see life-affirming responses to the events in Orlando, like when we see a gathering of like-minded people striving to overcome hate and fear with a message of hope.

 

Cultivating kindness is important to me as an individual, a mother, friend and as a writer. My belief that it’s worthwhile taking care with words and actions inspires me in my work and in my daily life. I think it’s particularly crucial to protect those in our communities and the world at large who are more at risk of experiencing cruelty and injustice. Some may feel that kindness is synonymous with weakness. I don’t think this could be further from the truth. It takes a lot of courage to speak on behalf of others, who are facing circumstances that appear more difficult than our own personal experience. I believe it’s our duty to shield children, in particular those who have unique challenges, from those who might harm or intimidate them; We preserve our own dignity by standing beside anyone who has been a victim of unfair or unjust practices; As women we must unite to push back against the ways the world tries to separate us from our own bodies and individual identities.

 

We can’t control the actions of others, but we can acknowledge the power in ourselves. We can have faith that what we do and say can have a positive impact on the world and on future generations. I would ask that we try to seek inspiration in those who are bravely working towards acceptance and understanding and know that we are all on a very similar journey – we can choose to take it in stride, together, and we may be rewarded in exciting, unprecedented ways.

sarahsig