Here’s how I’m dealing with Covid-19

How about you?

Can I ask if this is a safe place to open up?

Since I can’t hear your response, I will imagine you nodding “yes.”

First, I’m a foreigner living in a Middle Eastern country. That’s curious enough and a surprise to me as well as it is to anyone who knows me. And second, I’m in a high-risk age group of the population. But, I LOVE Istanbul and I feel safe here and yet, afraid at the same time. If I allow myself to look at the negatives, I will drive myself crazy—and raise my BP. I don’t speak the language. Would that matter if I had C-19 symptoms and showed up at a hospital? But I also feel super secure in the fact that the health care system is one of the best in the world. And the Turkish people take care of their own. And as long as I’m living in their country, I’m certain they will take care of me.

So here’s what I’m doing.

First, I got my hair done yesterday. And then walked to my neighborhood Starbucks. It was business as usual but fewer people on the streets. Still, I nodded at the familiar smiling faces and thanked the staff at Starbucks by slipping an extra big tip in their jar when they weren’t looking. I know it will be lean times for all workers over the next few weeks. Some businesses are already closed down.

It was freezing out and windy but I’m grateful for the fact that I’m healthy and can walk and afford to go to the hairdressers, the pharmacy and Starbucks.

I glanced across the street and witnessed this. It the first time I’ve seen this in Istanbul.

“There, but for the grace of God…” It made my heart hurt. What will the poor people and the refugees do during this scary time?

Further on my walk I looked up and saw these event posters hanging everywhere.

I LOVE YOU. And that made my heart sing.

I came to a decision yesterday. In life we always have choices. I chose to be the LIGHT, I will do what I’ve always done. I will put my own fears aside and show strength and compassion.

So I opened up my computer and did a FB Live. I said hi to friends and readers of my novels and memoir that I’ve met from all over the world. I connected and made people smile. Then I shared something I learned from Elizabeth Gilbert—the author of Eat Pray Love—she called it a grounding technique to bring us back into the present.

And now I will share it with you.

5 4 3 2 1

Name 5 things you can see right now. I. I see the sun streaming in through my loft window landing on my white cotton comforter on my bed 2. I see a colorful pocket notebook with Istanbul and a sketch of the Hagia Sophia on the cover 3. I see my iPad where I have a thousand books and several I have not yet read so I know what I will do with my time if I self-isolate 4. I see photos in a stack in front of me, the only things I kept from my past when I packed my suitcase and left my life in Mexico to travel in 2019 5. I see the fresh coffee I just made from the extra bags of beans I bought at Starbucks yesterday.

Name 4 things you can hear right now. 1. I hear the hum of the heater—it’s cold today. I’m so grateful to have electricity. 2. I hear the Call to Prayer at the Mosque. I know Muslims all over the world will stop and say their prayers in the privacy of their offices or homes because groups are forbidden by the Iman during this time of the virus. 3. I can hear a seagull calling. The Bosphorus Strait is at the end of my street 4. I can hear the keyboard click as I type each word and hope I’m inspiring you.

Name 3 things you feel right now. 1. I feel happy because my boyfriend came over last night and made me laugh and helped me get centered. 2. I feel loved and cherished to know that someone cares that I’m okay. 3. I feel purposeful because I made a decision in the midst of my anxiety that I would do what I do best and spread LIGHT and LOVE.

Name 2 things you can smell right now. 1. My steaming black coffee 2. My Chanel Chance perfume that I put on my neck just for me.

Name 1 thing you can taste right now. I can taste the bananas with honey sprinkled with Chia seeds that I’m eating while I write this piece for you.

And finally, since it’s the eve of my BIRTHDAY, this is my birthday wish:

I will send an intention out to the Universe that when this virus is finally under control, governments, countries, and people can somehow begin to truly embrace the fact that #weareallone.

As always, thanks for reading. And if you’re looking for something to read. ULTIMATUM Code Raven 3 is free right now!

Christmas Eve (for an non-traditional girl) in Istanbul. A photoblog

One must start the day off at Starbucks, and yes, Cats are revered in Turkey, in the Islam religion, so this beauty was saying hello to everyone before she went on her independent Christmas Eve day.

I sent Santa this above message and followed it up with the one below, because last year I was in Mexico, and I didn’t want him to worry about trying to locate me in Istanbul–the city has 17 million people!

Although there are no signs of Christmas in this Muslim country, colorful lights decorate every street in this intensely lively city!

And the weather feels like spring, not winter. I don’t really need to wear my winter coat just yet!

This week my boyfriend bought me chocolates from the Spice Bazaar for absolutely no reason! Well, maybe he realized Christmas was coming and I was feeling … lonely? I knocked them off in 48 hours!!! And two days later he came over with another box of the same. He adores me and thinks I look amazing even if I’m sure I’ve put on 10 chocolate pounds in the last week.

The mosques still fascinate me. I love to listen to the call to prayer. Last night I couldn’t sleep–maybe memories of Christmas past and family that is no longer with us. So I listened to the call to prayer well before sunrise. There’s something comforting in this age-old manner of professing a love of God. It’s one of the things I find special about this culture.

My hairdresser decided it was time to change my hair color for this festive time of year, He added blue!! If he had asked me first, we both would have had to use Google Translate! I laughed out loud when I saw it. It’s absolutely perfect for me.

And to top off my evening–because soup alone does not cut it on Christmas Eve–I had a lovely glass or two of Blush Shiraz from Turkey. Then I chatted online with people I love from all around the world.

And I almost forgot!! Today I released my latest Code Raven book 7 The Istanbul Conspiracy! https://amzn.to/2PSAApg My Christmas gift to you! It’s available in download and in print.

The wedding of DJ Turk and the daughter of the Minister of Defense is about to take place on a mega-yacht on the Bosphorus in Istanbul. Hours later the much-anticipated photos show corpses lined up along the dock and a bride covered in blood.
Was this a random act of terror, a targeted assassination of the Turkish political elite, or an attack on DJ Turk who leads a double life?
Luke and Samaar of the Raven Group have their own wedding to attend but it’s called off at the last minute when they uncover a breach in their security. Instead of returning to Paris, they come to the aid of the Turk to get to the bottom of this horrific event.
The conspiracy they uncover must be prevented before the balance of power in the world is perilously reversed. Get your copy at https://amzn.to/2EQdpWf

Thank you for your support in 2019. I look forward to continuing to cause trouble, shock, and entertain you in 2020!!

Do You Think You’re Ugly? Q

 

Screen Shot 2017-09-11 at 4.39.22 PM

The outside of us can be changed, but I believe it’s the inside shining out, that makes us beautiful.

If a “lot of men” find you ugly, and you look in the mirror and see a good looking girl, take a real hard look at the person inside that you’re conveying to the world.

I have an amazing man in my life that unfortunately is incurably ill. One day, years ago, I asked him what he liked most about me. I was expecting him to say my boobs, or my eyes, or my smile. You know, typical physical stuff that guys are attracted to—or so I thought. But he answered immediately with “what’s between your ears.” For me, that means the way I think, the conversations we have, my personality, the fun, the laughter and the love.

I almost died from an incurable disease in 2008. I wrote the memoir this year: LOVE The Beat Goes On I’ve lost lovers to death, I’ve lost possessions, marriage and the dreams of a future with the love of my life. I still don’t believe that “life is unfair.”

You cannot be ugly unless you think you are. But the first and best relationship in your life is going to be with yourself.

I’m grateful daily for the life I’ve been given and I look forward to every single day with love in my heart.