About Moxie Girl Musings

Moxie Girl Musings is about starting over from square one after tragedy impacted my young family. It's filled with stories of triumph, struggle, snafus, hopes, and dreams. Sometimes there will be features from other writers that I like and every so often I'll include an original short story, but normally I simply write what's on my mind at the time. Welcome to my unfiltered true-life story as I figure out this thing called life. http://www.amberleaeaston.com

Monday, May 2, 2016

Better Get Your Gun--It's Time to Go to the Grocery Store!

Yesterday a friend of mine and her husband were assaulted randomly by strangers in a grocery store parking lot. When I relayed the story to others, I was shocked at the responses of "they must have been mistaken for someone they (attackers) had a beef with" and "if they'd had a gun, they wouldn't have been attacked" and "if they'd attacked me, that would have been the last thing they did" and many other bullshit responses.

Know the response I expected? Oh, how horrible! How shocking! That's too bad. Are they okay?

Instead, I heard how I should now buy a gun or risk "being a victim." This logic escapes me. I'm sick of it, I honestly am. I don't care if you own a gun in your home for whatever your reasons may be, but, for God's sake, start using your fucking brain. Obama was elected in 2008 and all of you thought someone would come to take your guns away--umm...yeah, that never happened nor was it ever a "liberal conspiracy." Not every situation is an opportunity for you to sound like an ass.

"You'd better get a gun, carry it with you, be on guard, get them before they get you." Is that the kind of world you want to live in? Does that sound like the land of the free to you?

"Anything can be used against you, not just a gun, you need to fight back!" Another thing I heard when I said that, no, I'm fine living without a gun. At the moment, I'm sitting peacefully with my dogs--what am I scared of? I've lived in the mountains for years where I've encountered bears and mountain lions--they're still alive and so am I. Not every situation requires a gun-toting moron reacting in fear.

Believe me, I know how to fight if I need to, but this was a circumstance where two people were putting their groceries into their car and were assaulted from behind with zero warning. After all, we live in a small mountain town and it was a Sunday evening. Why should they have been armed to go to the grocery store? They were attacked by people who wanted to hurt someone. Period. Total strangers. Were the attackers armed? No.  

"If I'd had my gun with me, those people in the parking lot would be dead." Yes, that's what someone said about my friend's attack. The assailants were not armed. They were assholes, yes, and they deserve to be jailed, but killed?! How about restrained? Apprehended? Why was the reaction immediately about guns and killing? They also went after a random man who got out of his car to help--just beat him up. That's what they wanted to do--hurt some strangers. Not with a weapon, but with their angry fists. All of this happened very fast--minutes--and then they sped off in their SUV.

We live in a culture where it seems to be okay to immediately blame the victims or react in an equally violent way. I can't stand it anymore.

I refuse to live in fear. I won't do it. I also won't look at someone who has been victimized and blame them for whatever senseless and unjustified event just happened to them.

I don't know what's going on anymore or how we arrived at this ugly place where compassion is sneered at and people think violence and hate are acceptable.

I was told by an old friend that "liberal open-mindedness is the root of our society's downfall." I finally snapped and stood up for what I believe. I usually remain quiet because I can't stand arguing. It is so simple to label people these days, point a finger, and hurl insults. It is almost a badge of honor for gun enthusiasts to react to this type of situation with talking about how they'd "kill" someone and then slapping up some photos of their machine guns on social media like that someohow makes them more manly or something. I'm ashamed that other countries call America the "land of guns and gangs." It's shameful! And, if you don't think so, you're really out of touch. The divide continues to grow--old friends become strangers or people we simply can't stand anymore, strangers become enemies simply by being different or having a different point of view.

I am sure the angels weep for us. We are one. We are all human beings sharing the same planet. Yet we allow hate and violence and fear to rule over kindness, compassion, and love.

When I heard my friend and her husband were attacked, I felt sad for our little town, for them being so taken off-guard, for society as a whole where anger seems to run the day. I didn't for one second think "what did you do to deserve it?" No one deserves to be attacked. We as a society shouldn't have to feel the need to react with violence over every little thing. We shouldn't say broad-sweeping statements that will alienate old friends with political stereotypes. Yet this is what we've become.

We've become angry, hateful, fearful--and I find it unacceptable. I won't play that game. Call me weak, fine. I disagree, though. I think it takes more strength to stay above the hatred and the fear and the blind, sweeping labels that rip relationships apart. I choose love. I choose compassion. I choose optimism.

As for the attackers at the grocery store, I hope they are apprehended because it sounds like they were pretty crazy and need to be investigated. But do they deserve to die over that? No. The fact that so many people thought that was an acceptable reaction is more frightening than the incident itself.

I am so sick of bullied for wanting unity and peace, for beliveing that love is stronger than hate and that hope is greater than fear. Compassion for victims is not a weakness--it's called kindness! I think it's time we all start thinking in terms of humanity rather than political agendas.

And, this isn't a debate. Any hateful pro-gun-kill-anyone-because-it's-my-right comments will be deleted. Guess what? It's my right to go to the grocery store or for a hike or whereever the hell I want and not worry that some fool with a concealed weapon will shoot me becasue he thinks I'm too blonde or laughing too loud. The situation is out of control. You may cling to your Second Amendment--well, this is me clinging to the First Amendement of Freedom of Speech. See how that works?

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Ready to take the plunge into a sexy #romance in Costa Rica? #ScintillatingSunday

Excerpt of the romance adventure novella, Proximity, book two of the Wanderlust Series (all written as stand-alones)...ready to get wet?

"You're confusing the hell out of me and I don't like it," she said quietly enough not to be overheard. "You're Bill. My Bill. You don't act like a horny teenager with a crush."

"More like an obsession." He locked his gaze on hers. "Maybe that should scare you."

"You want to play, huh?" She tilted her chin a bit higher, always one to take on a dare rather than back down. "I'll call your bluff, honey baby."

God, he hated when she did that sexy drawn out drawl with her voice. He knew she did it to torment him and it worked every damn time. 

"Oh, will you now? I don't think you've got it in you. Swim with sharks? Sure, you'll do that. Tangle with me beyond the friend zone? Never." He stepped closer, grabbed her shoulders and turned her around while leaning close to her ear without the others seeing. "How far are you willing to go before you fold and beg for mercy?"

She looked at him over her shoulder, her lips a fraction from his and eyes narrowed into slits. "I never beg. I'm not sure what exactly is wrong with you, but I'm going to play this out all the way until you tell me what the hell is going on inside that thick skull of yours." 

"All the way?" He smiled at the blush on her cheeks. When she'd kissed him back last night, it had taken every ounce of self-control to leave. 

"You know I always win a game of chicken." She stepped out of reach and motioned for him to slip into his gear before sliding her gaze over his body in the same way he'd done to her. "Remember when we stole those scooters in Barbados—"

"Borrowed. We returned them in the morning."

"Whatever." She shrugged. "We played chicken with those guys from Brazil."

He laughed at the memory of the Brazilians hitting the ditch while Savannah had whooped in victory down the dirt road as dawn crept over the horizon. 

"This isn't the same thing," he said.

"Isn't it? You don't want to lose me as a friend either, but you're all hot and bothered after your breakup with the uptight Lexi and I'm your safe place to fall. So you're pushing the limits, but we know you won't cross the line when it comes right down to it." She slipped her hand over the curve his ass. "You're out of your league, honey baby."

From the back cover...

Love sometimes hides in plain sight.

Savannah is one of the boys—fun loving, adventurous, a general contractor, and dive master extraordinaire. There isn't much she takes seriously about herself, or at least that's the impression she likes to give off. Women often misjudge her based on her looks so she's gravitated toward a group of men who accept her 'as is'—her Scuba diving club.

Bill has known Savannah's wild side for years and has been comfortable playing the role of best friend. As part of the Dallas Divers, he's shared many adventures with the group from diving the Blue Hole in Belize to exploring the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. When the team heads out to Costa Rica for a series of cave dives, he knows he needs to take the biggest risk of his life, but isn't sure he has the nerve.

Catastrophe happens shortly after their immersion in the cave. With the entrance blocked from an earthquake and separated from the rest of their team, Savannah and Bill are forced to find another way out while battling aftershocks, rising tides, and an undeniable attraction that they've ignored for too long. The question becomes, what's more dangerous...the earthquake or love?

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

Monday, April 25, 2016

Traveling the Dominican Republic as a Single Mom with Young Kids #FamilyTravel #Travel

Before I was widowed, we traveled frequently as a family. When the kids were only 2, we had them snorkeling with stingrays in Grand Cayman and whale watching off the coast of Cabo San Lucas. When my husband died, I admit to being concerned that our lifestyle would change dramatically--because it felt scary thinking of traveling the world solo with two elementary-aged children. Right or wrong, that's how I felt.

But, traveling has always cured what ailed me so I determined to go. When I picked the Dominican Republic, I admit I didn't know much about the country other than it had great beaches and good rum. We chose Punta Cana and stayed at the Barcelo Palace.

The confusion at the airport threw my confidence a bit. It was very hectic and no one seemed to know what bus we were supposed to get on to get to the resort. Men kept asking me where my husband was, too, and that made me feel vulnerable at the time. There I was with a sleepy eight and nine-year-old in a foreign country being asked repeatedly where my husband was in a hectic airport. To say that I started having doubts would be an understatement.

Once at the resort, my doubts intensified when a group of displaced Spaniards yelled and pushed in the lobby. To check-in, I needed to ask the kids to sit on our luggage while I forced my way through the group to the desk. Thoughts of them being abducted slammed through my mind--normally, this is where I would have hung out with them while my husband handled this chaos, but that was no long an option in our lives. While trying to keep one eye on them and another on the pushy Spaniards, I managed to check-in.

That's where the chaos ended.

Our room was amazing--a junior suite located directly on the beach was a welcome reprieve. Only feet away from the Caribbean and the amazing pool area, we had definitely arrived in paradise!

The Barcelo Palace is part of the Barcelo complex with a golf-cart train that takes you to any one of the other resorts you'd like to visit while staying there. We were staying in the "best" resort so had full access to any of the amenities at the other hotels. This was great fun for us during our stay. At night, we'd head out to try the restaurants at the other properties. I think the kids just liked riding in the golf cart train, but, hey, if they're happy, then I'm happy. This is an all-inclusive property so we seriously didn't need to worry about anything--after the hectic arrival.

During our ten day stay in the Dominican Republic, we went on a few excursions. We visited the Stone City near La Romana, took a duck boat down the river beneath the stone city (so much fun!), traveled from La Romana to Isla Catalina--all part of one excursion! On the island, we snorkeled and were served a fabulous barbecue while people salsa danced on a make-shift stage in the sand. This was a perfect excursion for the kids, very family friendly, and fun. The bus for the excursion picked us up and dropped us off directly from the resort. Easy!
The duck boat loading up--yes, I was a bit nervous. Ha.

My son on the boat-- a very happy boy. 
Looking down at the river from the Stone City
An amphitheater in the Stone City--those are my kiddos on the stage.

Church in the Stone City

Finding some shade on Isla Catalina after snorkeling

Salsa dancing on Isla Catalina--no, that's not me.
Why travel solo with kids? Why go through the hassle and worry of being a single woman traveling alone with two young children? Aside from travel being part of our lives before my husband's death and my determination not to have it all go to hell afterward, I have always believed that it's important to raise children who are citizens of the world, who interact easily with other cultures, and who are open-minded to trying new things. At our hotel, we were the only Americans for the first week. We had people from South America and France who would yell out to us at the end of the day inviting us to eat with them and being worried about where we had "disappeared to" after going on an excursion. The kids played with other children who did not share the same language, but were able to communicate joy and friendship with laughter and swimming in the pool. Travel, to me, was a vital part of raising them.

The Dominican Republic had many family-friendly excursions to choose from as well--we spent a day traveling to Santo Domingo, visiting the aquarium, shopping in the city, touring a tobacco company, and exploring a huge sink hole. Again, all of this was organized by the hotel, making exploring more than the resort easy and stress-free.

Church where Christopher Columbas's brother was married. Did you know the Santa Maria sank off the coast of Santo Domingo?

The kids at the aquarium in Santo Domingo
Hiking inside the sink hole (HUGE) outside of Santo Domingo.
We talk about this trip a lot with shared laughter. We would definitely return to Punta Canta in the Dominican Republic again. The people were extremely nice, we loved our hotel and enjoyed being "seen" and "missed" by people there when we were absent for awhile, and were sad to leave. The kids were welcomed everywhere we went and made some friends from other countries who taught them the value of travel and new experiences.

As a single woman with kids, being asked repeatedly where my husband was did get tiring, but it also wasn't unique to the Dominican Republic. The pros of the trip far outweighed that one irritant. 
Travel on!
Amber Lea Easton
Amber Lea Easton is a multi-published author of romantic thrillers, contemporary romance, women's fiction, and nonfiction. She also writes five different blogs, creates a line of inspirational journals, volunteers for children's literacy, and advocates for suicide awareness. In addition, she is a professional editor and mother of two extraordinary human beings. She currently lives in a small cabin high in the Rocky Mountains where she is completely aware of how lucky she is. To find out more about her books, please visit http://www.amberleaeaston.com

Sunday, April 24, 2016

A Kiss is Never Just a Kiss #SecondChance #Romance #MyScintillatigSunday

Excerpt of the romantic suspense novel, Kiss Me Slowly...diamond smuggling, conspiracy, murder under Florida Keys' sunshine...

“I am not your anything.” 

“You’re my something, I just can’t figure out what.” His gaze dipped to her mouth. 

“Don’t do this.”

“Do what?” Mouth a fraction from hers, he smiled. 

“Do not kiss me.” The bagel slipped from her fingers.

“Now why would I do that?” His body pinned her against the counter. His hands circled her neck. “Why would I break one of your rules, especially when I know you secretly want me to?”

“Jonathan…” She touched his bare chest. 

“Grace…” His lips brushed against hers with a tenderness that broke her heart all over again. His mouth tugged on her lower lip until she kissed him back.  “You tricked me,” he whispered against her lips. 

“How so?” Her hands moved to his back beneath the shirt. God, he felt good. She liked him pressing her back like this, liked the feel of his body heavy against her own. 

“I thought you’d changed, but you’re still my Grace.” Before she could protest, he deepened the kiss with his tongue. 

From the back cover...

--> -->
Trapped in a set-up that could have him in jail or dead by Monday, Jonathan Alexander trusts no one in his inner circle. It’s Saturday. His only hope is Grace Dupont, the best forensic accountant in Miami. But there’s a glitch with that idea. She’s also his ex-girlfriend who'd rather watch him drown than throw him a life vest. Going to her feels desperate…because he is.

Grace enjoys seeing Jonathan squirm. On your knees boy, she thinks as he pitches for her help. Always a sucker for the dark-haired-blue-eyed boys, she risks her precariously balanced life of secrets to help him. Helping him slaps a target on her back–she’s the key to proving his innocence and that’s a bad, bad thing.

Tangled up in a whirlwind of conspiracy, murder, million dollar money trails and diamond smuggling, Jonathan and Grace flee to the sea to stall for time to prove his innocence. Romance sizzles beneath Florida Keys’ sunshine. Both scoff at happy endings. Both doubt justice. Both know each kiss could be their last.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Dying to Be Me #Inspiration #Love

Recently, I read a book called Dying to Be Me about a woman who experienced a near-death experience. She'd had stage-four cancer, all of her organs had shut down, she'd slipped into a coma, and the doctors had notified her family that they should say their goodbyes. From her coma state, she heard conversations about her demise even though the people were not in the same room and saw her brother flying from India to be by her side. As she slipped through the earthly bounds to the 'other side', she experienced unconditional love and realized that time is linear--in essence, there is no time and there is no judgment.

As I read this book, I thought of all my criticisms, my worries, my timelines and all of it suddenly felt irrelevant. One of the lessons in the book is that we should love ourselves as the divine does because we are loved unconditionally by those on the other side. There is no punishment, no harsh judgment, no doomed destiny.

Why is it hard to love ourselves? I have a hard time with this idea. I love my kids, my dogs, my family, but when it comes to looking myself in the eye in the mirror, I only want to criticize. I'm my worst critic, I admit that. The past few years have been a steady unraveling of the foundation that has kept me afloat. I've allowed regrets over past decisions to cripple me in some ways. Ever since my husband's death, I've been in this fight-or-flight mode, a constant battle for survival, work, work, work, and I have beat myself up without mercy for not being able to break the cycle of struggle.

I came across this book while watching Wayne Dyery's "A Course in Miracles" where the author spoke of her experience and the synchronicity of events that led to the publication of her book. I've studied all of Wayne Dyer's books and have long been a student of the Law of Attraction, yet the struggle and the sense of racing against time persists.

But if time is linear as the author of Dying to Be Me and Wayne Dyer himself suggest, then what am I racing against? A story in my own mind? A societal belief that I've adopted as my own? Where are these criticisms I have of myself coming from? My perception of a 'should' or a 'what if'?

In the book, the author wakes up from her coma, her organs miraculously begin working again, and she's declared cancer free days later. Her body that had been riddled with tumors healed, much to the shock of doctors worldwide. She returned loving everything--even cancer for the lessons it had taught her. She came back radiating love and a sense of well-being because she now understood that there is nothing to fear in death...or in life. She started speaking up for herself and only doing things that made her happy. No longer did she care much about 'shoulds' or 'time'.

I've been told that there is an air of melancholy around me and I don't like that idea. I've criticized myself for being unable to shake this air of sadness because I don't want to be seen as morose. I'm now looking at it in a different way. I love that I loved so deeply that the loss of my husband impacted me to such an extent that I write from a place of great emotion.  I love that I know what it feels like to love that way and be loved in return. Yes, I have changed...but so what? I love my journey because it brought me to where I am today and the woman I've become.

In the week since finishing the book, I've started looking at my house through eyes of love. This is where I raised a family and, even if it needs repair, it's my home. I love it. I look at the people who have left me for whatever reason and I no longer feel anger at their abandonment, instead, I send them love because they have every right to live their own lives without me just as I have a right to move on from them and go another way. It's all okay.

I'm releasing judgment--not only of myself but others as well. If the other side is full of unconditional love free of condemnation, then what right do I have to be a critic?

I love knowing I am loved on the other side by angels and deceased family members--you see, I'd been worried that I had disappointed everyone in my life, including my late husband, my deceased grandparents, and even God Himself. Feeling loved is hard for me despite loving being so easily. I'm learning. I'm practicing by holding a hand over my heart and saying, "I love you, thank you, little fighter, you've done good, I love you."

Maybe you don't believe in the other side or that the author, Anita Moorjani, experienced a miraculous healing of cancer and that's fine with me. I'm not trying to sway you. I'm not even reviewing the book. I'm merely sharing the message with you because I feel it is important.

Love is all that matters--love of the earth, of animals, of people, and of ourselves. If time is linear and we have the power to create our own experiences in any given moment, then there is no reason to race or to feel as if we are behind or falling short as long as we're being true to ourselves and our highest purpose.

The message freed me in a lot of ways. Freed me from being scared. Freed me of feeling discouraged. Freed me of carrying around so much baggage.

We are always surrounded by love. We came from love. We will return to love. So why not be love while we're here despite whatever earthly circumstances/challenges surround us? We can choose love over fear and deal with whatever comes with grace.

Peace to you.
Amber Lea Easton

Amber Lea Easton is a multi-published author of romantic thrillers, contemporary romance, women's fiction, and nonfiction. She also writes five different blogs, volunteers for children's literacy, and advocates for suicide awareness. In addition, she is a professional editor and mother of two extraordinary human beings. She currently lives in a small cabin high in the Rocky Mountains where she is completely aware of how lucky she is. To find out more about her books, please visit http://www.amberleaeaston.com

Sunday, April 17, 2016

He Chose the Wrong Woman for His Game #RomanticSuspense #ScintillatingSunday

Excerpt of the new release, One True Thing, a romance thriller...

“You wanted me when you didn’t know who I was. We were just two people, strangers, without a past or a future. I knew you wanted to fuck me against that mural, beneath that tarp, I saw it in your eyes, thought about it all damn day. Then tonight there you were. You walked up those stairs like a predator, seeking me out, sweeping me away.” 

“You want to be swept away?” 


"I'll do my best." He scooped her off her feet and carried her from the balcony to the bedroom. He fell onto his back against the mattress with her silk-encased body draped across him.

“Damn dress.” She propped herself above him and grimaced. “Help me out of it?”

“With pleasure,” he whispered against her neck.

His fingers moved to the discreet zipper at her side and — with his gaze never leaving hers — he slid it down.  She shrugged it off her left shoulder. As if unwrapping a Christmas gift, he wasted no time in sliding the rest from her lean, toned body. Velvet hissed down her torso and slipped from her legs. Clad only in strapless bra and panties with her hair falling in wild layers past her shoulders, she kicked the tangled material off her feet and flashed him a devilish smile.  

“You’re deadly.” But what a way to die.

From the back cover...

Power...it's a heady drug.

Vanessa Warren is America's favorite rebel. Daughter and granddaughter of US Presidents and sister to a future one, her family connections and notoriety are seen as leverage for manipulating the White House—if she's captured.

One little lie leads to a whole lot of trouble.

Reclusive international resort developer, Dominic Varga, needs a date to ward off his matchmaking parents. When he persuades the notorious Vanessa Warren to play his girlfriend for the night, he has no idea he's stepped into the crosshairs of kidnappers who will do anything—destroy everything—to get to her.

One true thing...

Trapped in a rapidly escalating international terror plot, Dominic and Vanessa's lie becomes the only real thing in the midst of betrayals, conspiracies, and murder. As their world falls apart, they suddenly only have each other to rely on against ruthless people who will stop at nothing to achieve their goal. Who can they trust? Who is behind the plot—her own family, a political rival of her family's, or a terrorist organization? How far will the kidnappers go—what will they be willing to sacrifice—to control the power of the White House? Is there anywhere in the world where they can find safety?