Monday, January 19, 2015

Sherwood's End is here! Enter to win your FREE intuitive reading




Magical greetings to you!
Sherwood's End, Book 3 in the Robbin' Hearts Series, is finally here! If you enjoyed Robin in the Hood and the sequel Stone of Thieves, you'll LOVE this spellbinding new novel where Robin and Creek return to Turtle Shores and Robin's former boarding school to find out the truth about Creek's past and his mother (with a little help from the ruby heart, of course!). Ghostly and enchanting, this is a novel that will grab you by the heart and echo in your dreams.

And to celebrate the release of Sherwood's End, I'm giving away a FREE MAGICAL READING to everyone who purchases the novel on Kindle! All you have to do is (1) go to the following link on Amazon/Kindle to buy Sherwood's End: http://www.amazon.com/Sherwoods-End-Robbin-Hearts-Book-ebook/dp/B00SDOEY6G/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1421706386&sr=8-4&keywords=Diane+J.+Reed, and (2) email me with your Kindle purchase order confirmation number at banditsranch@gmail.com to request your reading. For more information about my readings, please go to http://www.banditsranch.com/p/psychic-readings.html. This offer expires 1/27/15. Thank you so much, and have a magical day! 

Below is the synopsis for Sherwood's End:

Sometimes a great love won’t let go…until you believe 

The elite Pinnacle Boarding School for Girls is renowned for keeping away far more high school applicants from its hallowed halls than it lets in. But lately, someone has been lurking in shadows, writing cryptic messages on mirrors, and putting people’s lives in peril. When Robin and Creek begin to suspect that this otherworldly guest may have a connection to a tragedy in Creek’s past—and isn’t about to go away anytime soon—they return to Robin’s Alma Mater to try and uncover the truth behind the mysterious spirit’s rage. What they discover is a love story for the ages that leaves them breathless and inspires healing and hope for all those who dare to believe in miracles. 

Due to mature themes, readership is advised for ages 17+.

The Robbin' Hearts Series by Diane J. Reed: This edgy, young adult/new adult romance series follows teen heroine Robin McArthur on her magical journey as she reinvents her life from rich girl to gypsy outlaw and learns what it means to truly fall in love. Along the way, she discovers how precious her soulful friendships are in the enchanted trailer park of Turtle Shores, and that there's more than meets the eye in the backwoods when it comes to matters of the heart.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

New Year, New Blessings


Happy new year to YOU!
May this be the year your dreams come true . . .

I'm so excited about this year because soon I'll be releasing the third novel in my Robbin' Hearts Series, Sherwood's End, which ties up Robin's & Creek's adventures as they come full circle into healing, wholeness & lasting genuine love. (Look for Sherwood's End to debut on Amazon & Kindle shortly!) For me, this is a huge milestone & dream come true--I'll finally have finished a series! This event represents a big breakthrough for me. Why? Because writing books that are fresh, original, and yet deeply touch the soul is hard & requires the mental fortitude of a marathon runner. And this can be said of any big dream, right? When the going gets tough, and I feel like the end is nowhere in sight, I often have to remind myself that "Everything I want is on the other side of discipline."

And FAITH . . . 

Because to do anything beyond the ordinary "same old", you have to both envision the big picture & then take the small, often frustrating, baby steps each day to make it come true. Sometimes you have to contend with people who subtly hint that you can't achieve your goal--that you'll never be up to snuff. And sometimes (gulp) you have to confront the fact that you need to remove those influences from your life. Since I'm a group hug kind of gal, that's really hard (& often traumatic) for me. I naturally support others & love to see their dreams come to fruition! So I'm always shocked (& deeply rattled) when others don't want the same for me. But here's perhaps the toughest part about achieving what you want in life:


YOU HAVE TO LOVE YOURSELF ENOUGH TO MAKE YOUR DREAMS HAPPEN.




Which means, YOU have to be the one to take the lid off & allow your dreams to fly.

Yep. As hard as it may be, there often comes a point where you have to stare for a long time in the mirror & say to yourself "Is it really other people or circumstances keeping the lid on my dreams, or is it ME? Do I have the guts to put my dreams first, despite setbacks, enormous labor, and the occasional ridicule of others? Can I love myself enough to truly listen to the whispers of my heart & make this happen?" 

Because I hate to say this, even to myself, but sometimes I realize that the resistance outside of me is actually reflecting the insecurity & doubt I have inside of me. And it's fascinating that whenever I drum up my courage, and make the unwavering, internal decision that "This is going to happen come hell or highwater," suddenly the naysayers start to disappear! A dear friend of mine likes to remind me that "Crazy finds the cracks." In other words, when I have cracks in my spiritual armor, such as doubt, insecurity & low self-esteem, strange people seem to come out of the woodwork to put me down or throw bizarre roadblocks my way. But when I shore myself up and decide within me that I deserve this dream as much as anyone, and to hell with what other people think, all at once crazy goes a runnin'. . . 

Yet what that sometimes requires is the courage to stand alone. 



For me, one of the most challenging obstacles I tend to have toward achieving my goals is the long-standing wish to fit in. Ouch.

Hello? It's not possible! Most people don't run around writing down the intimate conversations of their imaginary friends, Diane! On top of that, in terms of Myers-Briggs personality types, I'm an INFJ, which means I'm something akin to 1% of the total population & my mental processes are by far the least understood by the masses. I am, in a word, considered weird. Some of my dear friends even claim that in another lifetime I would have been burned at the stake (& the verdict is still out for this lifetime, too ; ). But probably because I'm a twin & come from a large family of 5 kids, I always hold out this hope in my heart that my group-hug idea of the world can come true. Yet as I get older, I've slowly learned to become more content with my oddness--and the price required to write thoughtful fiction, which is exactly this: You must to be willing to observe & say what others refuse to talk about. Because beyond the norms, traditions, and comfortable routines of our society lie the real yearnings of our souls--our ache to be loved & truly known--which most of us artfully suppress for fear of encountering derision. And to give voice to those heartbreaking whispers in the dark that we're reluctant to let others hear is at times the most revolutionary & original thing you can do. And it will most certainly make you be perceived as "different."

That's okay with me. Finally . . .

Because after all this time, I'd rather be different and real than fit in. And being authentic is the only way I know to achieve my dreams. Here's a little secret: your soul won't tolerate anything less. I honestly believe that your own soul will throw roadblocks into your life until you get back on track with the real YOU. Your heart yearns to travel the path that only it knows, not the well-worn path of others, so be grateful for its guidance. You may not have a lot of company on your route, but the colors will be brighter, the music purer, the friendships more true, and the dreams far more satisfying if you take the steps you know your soul is urging your towards.

So here's to a grand 2015! I pray you will listen to your heart & experience huge blessings & breakthroughs this year! And most of all, I pray that your dreams will always light the way toward your true spiritual home


LOVE, MAGIC & MIRACLES TO YOU IN 2015!




Photo credit note: All images on my blog are either my own or were gleaned from pictures in the public domains of popular social networks like tumblr, facebook or pinterest. If you own the copyright to any of these images & do NOT want them used publicly, please contact me & I will take them down immediately! : )

Monday, December 1, 2014

Holiday Hush


All right, I confess--I tend to get a bit overwhelmed by the holiday season. As beautiful as the month of December is, all the purchasing of presents & wanting to make others feel happy & dearly loved can sometimes leave me bedraggled. I mean, does it really matter if my gravy's lumpy or I don't tie ribbons particularly well? Probably not! Like most of you, what matters most to me is that my family & friends are healthy & happy. So this year, I had a radical thought: what if the best gift I could give to others is ME? A sincere heart & joyful spirit who surrounds others with peace & kindness? Who loves others for their authentic selves--not for what they can do for me or provide under a Christmas tree? Yet to do that, I realized I needed to first find that peace & authenticity within myself. So rather than running around like crazy trying to make everything "perfect" this holiday season (& God knows, I'm guilty of that in years past!), I decided to take time out to truly appreciate the simple joys of December & to allow a hush to settle into my bones.  


For me, this means stopping long enough on a ski slope in Colorado recently to notice how the clouds look like Angels over the mountain tops. When I lifted my eyes, honestly, I could almost hear them singing! And I wondered if this wasn't just mental fancy on my part--if there really IS something in the universe that rejoices when we take time out to notice the beauty & wonder all around us.  


And a few evenings ago, while I was out jogging during a light snowfall, at one point, I simply had to stop, clutch at my heart, and gasp. Why? Because as the snow filtered through the sky, the setting sun shone through the spiraling flakes, making each one flicker gold. The sight was so heart-stoppingly beautiful that it brought tears to my eyes. Even though I tried to capture it here (rather badly) on film, nature's poetry still left its mark on my soul in the form of a deep peace. And that silence, that sacred hush, is the true gift that I think December can bring. Within its quiet chill are moments that allow us to pause & appreciate something I can't even quite articulate--but that I believe has something to do with the eternal inside the temporal. A beauty that is at once fleeting & yet so piercing that it can endure in our hearts for all time. 


If we can relax long enough to feel that "sacred hush" during the holiday season, and let it replenish our souls, then we actually have more to offer other people! We have the gift of ourselves that can truly love & cherish those around us.  So as you make your way through this happy, hectic, harried, & hustle & bustle month, I hope you can also give yourself the opportunity to take long walks, to gaze at the sky, to allow snowflakes to fall on your tongue or notice shapes in the ice & patterns in the snow. In other words, during the midst of the holiday rush, don't forget the hush. Because long after the lights come down & the decorative trees have been turned into kindle, it may well be that these quiet moments are what you remember most.


Like the sweet message from a precious child left for you in the snow . . . 


(Photo credit note: All images on my blog are either my own or were gleaned from pictures in the public domains of popular social networks like tumblr, facebook or pinterest. If you own the copyright to any of these images & do NOT want them used publicly, please contact me & I will take them down immediately! : )

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Gratitude



The holiday season, particularly Thanksgiving, often causes us to reflect on what we're grateful for in our lives. Health, family & good friends usually top that list, along with a roof over our heads & food on the table, and an overall contentment with how our lives are progressing. Like many people, I try to make it a practice to "count my blessings" during this time, especially to balance the near-constant demands of our material-driven culture that insists we buy every shiny new object & technological toy. But for this holiday season, I've decided to ponder a different nuance of gratitude that I rarely hear people talk about: Space.


"Space" of the spiritual variety is what occupies the gaps in our hearts when unexpected changes happen in our lives. We didn't get the job we wanted, or the romantic partner we'd longed for, or the house we had our hearts set on. Instead, we're left with our dreams still throbbing in our hands, struggling for breath, searching to find a new goal or object to pin our cherished hopes upon.

And what we suddenly have before us, whether we like it or not, is a blank canvas. An open horizon. A new path ahead with no road map to go by or compass to provide direction. 



And that, in itself, can be an extraordinary blessing, if we allow it. How often I have been grateful for the road less traveled by! Did I deliberately choose it? Heavens no--I can count many times when I was left dizzied & gasping after the whirlwind of change, wondering what the heck I was going to do with myself once the dust & debris finally settled. But luckily, there's always been an inner voice inside me that said, "Don't be in a rush to fill up this space too fast. Set your table and put out your chairs, roll out your best china & finest wine, and let the next things that are supposed to be a part of your life gently come to you. Be grateful for the space."


Could that have been the Angels talking? I honestly think so. Because my natural inclination is to be a "fixer." Like many of you, I endeavor to have all my ducks in a row, to stick with a plan, to envision myself the way I'm "supposed to be" at this point in my life, including all of my imagined goals & glorious achievements. But what if the universe has a more interesting & soul-enriching idea?


So for this Thanksgiving, what I'm most grateful for is the gift of space--those odd quirks of fate that disrupted my plans & directed me to new paths I never would have encountered, which made more intriguing & creative choices possible. They say where one door closes, a window opens. And I believe that sometimes those windows lead to miracles we might never have experienced otherwise. Moments of serendipity where all appears lost--only to discover that there is a far more fascinating destiny awaiting you. But only if you can take a deep breath, relax, and allow the space to demonstrate its special brand of magic. If you can let yourself be content that space will do its gentle work in your heart & in your life, that is exactly the horizon that leaves room open for where your soul might really need to be. 


Oh, and by the way, did I mention I saw 10 turkeys on my jog in Colorado today? Truly wild turkeys are well known as the "ghosts of the forest"--the most elusive game animals of all. Like the gentle space I've been speaking of, they don't announce their presence with harsh, "gobble-gobbles". Rather, they move quietly, swishing the grass with their carefully placed feet & beautiful feathers as they move with the precision of seasoned ballet dancers. Their soft chortles are more like rhythmic purrs than "gobbles", if you stop long enough to listen. And they'll only remain in your presence when you pause in silence & allow them the grace to occupy their special kind of space, for they are very shy & dignified birds. 

And quite frankly, I couldn't help viewing them as a unique omen for the state of being I was inhabiting, one where I actually gave nature the room to speak in profound, non-verbal ways that are perhaps richer than all my well-laid plans. Like me, I hope you can take the time out to reflect on such moments of wild beauty & soul-opening space. Something tells me that if we allow these instances to affect us, they just might lead us to where our souls long to be after all. And for that, we shall be forever grateful . . .

(Photo credit note: All images on my blog are either my own or were gleaned from pictures in the public domains of popular social networks like facebook or pinterest. If you own the copyright to any of these images & do NOT want them used publicly, please contact me & I will take them down immediately! : )

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Halloween Giveaway!


It's time for my great Halloween Giveaway! As many of you know, Halloween is my favorite holiday of the year, particularly since I write magical romances that always have a hint of the supernatural. So this year, I'm giving away paperback copies of my paranormal romance that started all the magic, TWIXT, which just happens to take place over Halloween! In addition, I'm also giving away the fragrance "Sugared Black Currant" created by Love Potion Magickal Perfumerie, who asked me to be the face of their enchanting scent. If that weren't enough, my Halloween Giveaway package also features a deck of Gypsy Oracle Cards, Zhena's Gypsy Chocolate Chai Tea & a free intuitive/psychic reading by ME. Whew, that's a lot of loot! To keep it all straight, below are the items featured in my Halloween Giveaway:



FIRST PLACE WINNER:
1. A paperback copy of my magical romance TWIXT, which takes place on Halloween
2. "Sugared Black Currant" fragrance by Love Potion Magickal Perfumerie
3. Gypsy Oracle Cards
4. Zhena's Gypsy Chocolate Chai Tea
5. A free intuitive/psychic reading by Diane J. Reed

SECOND PLACE WINNER:
1. A paperback copy of my magical romance TWIXT, which takes place on Halloween
2. A free intuitive/psychic reading by Diane J. Reed

What do you have to do to win this bounty? Simply (1) sign up for my newsletter (in the subscribe box featured on the right hand side of this webpage) & (2) "like" my Facebook author page at https://www.facebook.com/BanditsRanch. Then (3) write your name in the comments below & tell me that you'd like to win! The drawing will take place on MIDNIGHT at Halloween. Thank you so much for entering & hope you win! Happy Haunting . . . 

(Photo credit note: All images on my blog are either my own or were gleaned from pictures in the public domains of popular social networks like facebook or pinterest. If you own the copyright to any of these images & do NOT want them used publicly, please contact me & I will take them down immediately! : )

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Autumn Wonders

 

The writer F. Scott Fitzgerald once said, "Life starts over again when it gets crisp in the fall." And I couldn't agree more. There's just something magical about the cool air & first frosts that make you want to drive down a forgotten country lane to the nearest pumpkin patch & take time to see old friends along the way. Perhaps it's the vibrant colors that inspire us to feel more alive, or maybe it's that nippiness in the air that makes us want to huddle around a bonfire & catch up with our nearest & dearest. Whatever the spell is that Autumn so faithfully casts, one thing is certain: it's a season filled with wonder & enchantment.



Each year, I can't wait for the grove of aspens along my jogging trail to turn gold, their leaves shimmering like bright coins. And nothing spells bliss for me quite like the feeling of those delicate leaves falling all around me in a colorful confetti when the wind begins to rise. I often see the tracks in the dirt of many wild animals this time of year, such as mountain lions, deer, elk & turkey, because this is the season when the wildlife are on the move, getting in their last foraging before settling down for winter.
 

I also love to take wilderness hikes with my family, in awe of the checkerboard pattern of brilliant reds & oranges & yellows that lay over the mountains. This was a particularly wet year for us in Colorado, and the aspen trees have responded to the bounty with an explosion of color that's a feast for the eyes.
 

 
It's as though God took a paintbrush and swirled every autumnal hue possible on the hillsides in a beautiful menagerie that's enough to take your breath away.
 
 
The vistas this year are so striking that at one point during our weekend hike, my 8-year-old son paused and tugged at my shirt . "Mom," he said softly, "are we in Heaven?" I fell silent for a moment, simply allowing myself to feel the same wonderment he did. And after taking a deep breath, I replied, "Yes, I think we are."
 
I loved my son's smug satisfaction afterwards—as if he'd discovered Shangri La in the quiet beauty of nature & couldn't wait to show me. And to be honest, I think he did—and I've tucked that memory in my heart & given a quiet thanks to Autumn for enabling us to experience it.
 
 
If you're at all like me, you can't wait to start decorating with fall colors the minute the first day of Autumn comes & you love to collect pumpkins to carve into fun faces for Halloween. But I hope in the hustle & bustle of this lovely season that leads us up to (gasp) Thanksgiving, you'll take a moment to cherish all the quiet wonders that Autumn brings. And maybe, you'll discover that its magical silence fills your heart with a special kind of gold...
 
 
P.S. If you're looking for an enchanting novel that takes place during Autumn & Halloween,
check out my paranormal romance TWIXT, available now on Amazon & Kindle
 
 
 (Photo credit note: All images on my blog are either my own or were gleaned from pictures in the public domains of popular social networks like facebook or pinterest. If you own the copyright to any of these images & do NOT want them used publicly, please contact me & I will take them down immediately! : )

Monday, September 1, 2014

Gypsies, Tramps & Thieves

 
There's a romance to the road. One of my favorite novels as a teen & to this day is On the Road by Jack Kerouac, where Sal Paradise & Dean Moriarty criss-cross through America, embracing adventure & experiencing the exultant & sometimes healing effects of the "heroic present"—a state of soul that bonafide gypsies know all too well. The heroic present is a quality of life spent cherishing the here & now—the sacredness & beauty of this very moment—for despite our many well-laid plans, it's all we can ever truly possess. This "wanderer's" worldview has always resonated with me, and in fact, is echoed profoundly in my magical new adult romances in the Robbin' Hearts Series, where I write about this simple truth: "There's a little magic & outlaw in all of us—especially when it comes to finding true love . . ."
 
And quite honestly, I believe it's true.
 
I think in the back of our minds, each of us knows that we're walking upon this earth for only a short while. We're sojourners, lucky to take in the astounding beauty & grace of this life, so often amazed that we get to experience it at all. We carry the rucksacks of our hopes & dreams over our shoulders, never knowing what day we will die or whether those cherished dreams will come true. All we know is that right now, it's so wondrous—and even magical—that sometimes we have to pause & inhale a deep breath to take it all in.
 
 
We're thieves, whether we want to admit it or not—even those of us who work nine-to-five jobs & pay our fair share of taxes. We steal every awe-inspiring moment we can, knowing we only get so many of them. It's what gives meaning to our short stay on this planet—the fact that we can gaze at the clouds, feel the earth beneath our feet, tousle a beautiful child's hair & register his or her smile. Somewhere, in the mystical annals of the cosmos, these moments are stored in that same energy that brings more warm winds & glorious sunsets, more ice-laden winters of such crystalline beauty that it breaks our hearts into a million pieces & leaves us craving for more.
 
 
And yeah, I realize that perhaps my heart is more restless than most, because like so many of us whose ancestors immigrated to the United States, I come from a long line of wanderers. My husband likes to jest that "The Reeds never died where they were born." It's a fact—for a centuries, the Reeds were always pressing forward & exploring, searching for new places to taste this life & live out loud. Country to country, coast to coast is how we liked it—no borders or boundaries to hem us in. Is that why one of my first jobs as an adult was riding a mustang horse from Mexico to Canada and back, spending my nights in a gypsy wagon? Or I lived in a tiny attic for many years to work with the homeless & mentally ill in San Francisco? I decorated it with bohemian scarves & a colorful chandelier, loving the way the light struck the flea-market crystals to send vibrant hues swirling like a kaleidoscope through my nook. At night I gazed at the stars from my attic window & was convinced that I owned the whole world.
 
 
And I did. Because if I could appreciate it & tuck it into my heart, in a way, the world truly was mine. Perhaps this is what Jesus meant all those years ago when he said "Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth." We can't actually possess anything; we can only appreciate it for a while. For this reason, the homeless individuals I case managed on the street weren't simply my "wards"—they were my friends. I understood them & they understood me in a unique way that no one else does. We often sat together & marveled at the crazy mixed-up beauty of the world, sharing a smoke & chatting about these myriad enchantments that are so fleeting, yet make our hearts feel whole if we take time to notice them. I remember every conversation—every word—we exchanged, because the harshness & fierce transitoriness of their lives had etched their souls as fine as diamonds. They had a poetic & hypersensitivity to beauty & joy, because tomorrow was never guaranteed. It was a worldview I could relate to, quite frankly, because I was nearly as poor as they were, yet doggedly determined not to let that steal the beauty of life from me.
 
 
So blame it on my gypsy soul. But even though I'm more comfortable with my living situation now, I'll never forget the wisdom of the many gypsies, tramps & thieves I've known on my journey. Life is as fleeting as the warm light of a candle. They know this & so do I. If I could offer any encouragement to you today, it's to dare to wander & fall in love with life. Dare to really feel it—all of the good, the bad, and the in between. And like my characters in the Robbin' Hearts Series, dare to celebrate life whenever you can with song, dance & wonderful stories that remind you of just how big your soul has really grown. Because no matter what kind of house we have or dreams we pursue, there's a little magic & outlaw in all of us . . .
 
 
 
If you're in the mood for a magical romance,
check out my novels on Amazon & Kindle
 
 
(Photo credit note: All images on my blog are either my own or were gleaned from pictures in the public domains of popular social networks like facebook or pinterest. If you own the copyright to any of these images & do NOT want them used publicly, please contact me & I will take them down immediately! : )