Zen 101: Mindfulness by @DonnaFaz

Mindfulness is active, open attention to the present. It’s the state of observing your thoughts and feelings from a distance without labeling them as good or bad. Living mindfully means to be in the moment and awake to each experience. Practicing mindfulness brings calm where there was chaos, peace where there was turmoil. Here are some suggestions that will help you live with more intention and less judgment.

Your only true reality is this moment, right now. If you’re not in the here and now, you’re either judging the past or anticipating the future—the first can’t be changed and the second is completely unpredictable. Focusing on This Moment—the people you’re with, the situation you’re in—is what is most important for your well-being.

There is a wilderness that can only be walked alone. Even when you are surrounded by people, no one can walk in your footsteps but you. Allow yourself the opportunity to get to know who you really are, what you really think and believe, how you really feel about your experiences.

Everything is created twice; once in the mind and then again in your life. Keep good moral standards at the forefront of your mind. If you do, then nothing you say or do will harm another.

Negative thoughts are harmless…unless you believe them. Don’t attach yourself to negativity in any form: thoughts, actions, or emotions. If bad thoughts invade your mind, simply let them go. There’s no need to reprimand yourself for the thoughts. Just let them go.

You will not be punished for your anger. You’ll be punished BY your anger. Annoyance, enmity, jealousy, resentment, they’re all normal human feelings. Dwelling on these gloomy emotions, however, will result in a pessimistic outlook. Life is too short to be anything except the best, most positive you.

Inner peace is knowing and loving yourself. The validation of others isn’t necessary for you to live a good and happy life.

To strongly believe in something and not live it is dishonest. Follow your intense passions mindfully. Live your beliefs and you’ll never be fooled by the words or desires of others.

The right path and the easy path are rarely one and the same. Every struggling step you succeed in taking toward your goal makes the reaching of the goal all the more satisfying.

If you truly desire the benefits, you must accept the costs. Every want (dream/goal) comes with some sort of sacrifice. You must welcome the suffering in order to achieve the dream.

The burden of too much responsibility inhibits a peaceful, mindful life. Every moment doesn’t have to be filled with something to do. Give yourself space to breathe, to appreciate, to be.

Embrace spontaneity. Work is necessary, yes, but some of life’s best experiences arrive at unplanned moments. Be flexible and open.

Make rejuvenation part of your daily schedule. If all we do is pour out of our buckets and never refill them, we’d all walk around carrying empty buckets. Take time to refill yourself—seek quiet solitude and focus your attention inwardly on a regular basis.

How has mindfulness, or the lack of it, affected your life? In what area of your life could you benefit from being more mindful? Do you have a suggestion for how others can live a more mindful life?

~  ~  ~

A note from the author: In a world filled with mass shootings, starving refugees, and myriad other tragedies, how do we keep our sanity? My book, PRAYER OF QUIET, describes a simple yet powerful spiritual practice I have used to help me escape the chaos of the world. I wrote the book so others might also benefit from this calming daily devotion.  

Layered Pumpkin Cheesecake #recipe by @DonnaFaz

Layered Pumpkin Cheesecake with Gingersnap Crust
Autumn has arrived! When the air turns a little chilly, I can’t help but turn on my oven and bake up something delicious. Last week I made a wonderful sunflower seed yeast bread. It was so good! Here’s a great fall recipe. I hope you’ll try it.

Layered Pumpkin Cheesecake

Gingersnap crust –

2 cups gingersnap cookie crumbs (about 32 cookies)
1/4 cup ground walnuts
5 Tablespoons butter, melted

Cheesecake –

4 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1.      Pre-heat oven to 300ยบ F. Grease a 9-inch spring form pan with cooking spray. Wrap foil around the outside of the pan to catch any leaks.
2.    Prepare crust: Mix together cookie crumbs, walnuts, and butter. Press mixture into the bottom of the pan, going up the side 1 inch. Bake 8 – 10 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes.
3.    In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add the sugar, and then add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition until well incorporated. Measure out 3 cups of the cheese mixture and spread evenly over the crust.
4.    Add pumpkin, ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg to the remaining cream cheese mixture in the mixing bowl. Mix with a wire whisk until blended. Carefully spoon pumpkin mixture over the cream cheese mixture in the pan.
5.     Bake for about 1 hour and 30 minutes, or until sides look set and the center jiggles just a little when moved.
6.    Turn off the oven, open the oven door about 4 inches, and leave cheesecake in the over for 30 more minutes. Remove from oven, set on cooling rack. While cheesecake is still warm, run a knife around the outside edge of the crust. Cool in the pan for 30 minutes. Cover loosely with plastic and refrigerate overnight.
7.     When ready to serve, run a knife around the outside edge again. Carefully remove the spring form. Store leftover cheesecake in the refrigerator.

From One Word-Slinger To Another @DonnaFaz

Today’s post is for authors and/or anyone interested in word-slinging.

An online colleague and friend directed me to this article on How to Overcome Writer’s Block. In the post, BD Schmitt of The Authors’ Nook offers some practical advice on beating the dreaded block. We’re told to re-read the pages we’ve written (this will familiarize us with plot, scene, characters, etc), spend some time with our characters, begin with a prompt (Schmitt offers a great list of them!), as well as other helpful advice. This is a short, wonderful, power-packed post.

Thanks for The Passive Voice for pointing me to this eye-opening article on book sales from National Public Radio. The article quotes Washington Post critic Ron Charles who reviews books that are nominated for prestigious literary awards such as the Man Booker and National Book Awards, as well as other industry professionals about publishing sales figures. I have to say I’m shocked to learn of the atrociously low sell-through numbers of some of these wonderful, award-winning books. You can read the full article by clicking here.

The news of Jackie Collins death made me pause today. I enjoyed her novels over the years. According to USA Today, the actress-turned-author lost her battle with breast cancer. She penned 32 books in her life-time. She was 77. This much-loved author will be missed. 


9 Ways to Let Go and Be Free ~ #Inspiration ~ @DonnaFaz

Letting go can be scary. But being free (of doubt, fear, guilt, negativity, etc) can’t be achieved without a willingness to let go of those things that keep you trapped. Freedom is a choice that can be life-changing. Here are some ways to achieve a better, lighter state of being.

1. Stop judging yourself – Release your expectations of who, how, where, and what you should be. Sometimes it’s in the letting go of judgments and ideals, even if only for a while, that allows you to move forward.

2. De-clutter – Clear off countertops and tabletops. File away those important papers where they belong. Sort through, give away, or simply get rid of any clothing you haven’t worn or those household items that you haven’t used in the past year. There’s probably someone out there who needs the very things you’re not using. Removing these unused items from your life will open your life to new things and give you more space to breathe.

3. Plan activities to look forward to – Whether it’s seeing a movie with friends, visiting an art exhibit, or a weekend away in a quaint B&B, give yourself something to feel excited about. Living in a state of anticipation is better than living with a woe-is-me or life-if-boring mentality.

4. Sit in silence – The key element in meditation is to focus on the here and now. Simply be present in this moment. When regrets from the past or fears about the future encroach on your thoughts, gently refocus your attention on the present. Start slow—five minutes is better than none—and gradually increase your meditation time until you reach the perfect duration for you.

5. Make someone’s day – When you find yourself feeling angry about the past or anxious and worried about the future, find a way to help someone else. Make lunch for a friend in need, offer a stranger a smile. Contributing to the well-being of others will make you feel more positive about yourself.

6. Spend time outside – It doesn’t matter where you go: the beach, a park, the mountains, a forest. Spending time outside will quiet your mind and lift your spirits.

7. Unplug from social media – We waste countless hours scrolling through timelines and post feeds. For what purpose? As long as you’re connecting with family and friends, a little bit is okay. But for the most part, social media sites put us on autopilot. Making a conscious effort to strictly limit yourself will leave you more time for real life experiences.

8. Starve your pain – Bad memories are fed by the remembering of them. You can choose not to feed your pain simply by being aware. When a bad memory floats into your thoughts, gently but firmly push it away by replacing it with another happier memory or thought. Let go of the bad thoughts; be free of the past. Not dwelling on the pain of the past is the best way to starve it.

9. Keep a gratitude journal – A gratitude journal doesn’t have to be elaborate. Every day (or night), write down 5 things for which you are grateful. There’s no pressure here. If 5 is too many, shoot for 3. Soon you’ll be looking for things in your day that you can enter into your journal. Living with an attitude of gratitude is much more positive than always complaining about or criticizing yourself, your life, or your situation.

Now it’s your turn. Do something. You can read dozens of articles on improving your life, but if you don’t implement the suggestions then nothing will ever change.

What suggestions would you add to this list? Leave a comment and help others let go and be free. 
~  ~  ~

If you've visited my website before, you know that I write romance and women's fiction novels. But here's something you might not know: four of my novels are now sold exclusively in the Kindle Store and are available for members of Kindle Unlimited Program. So if you're a Kindle Unlimited member, I would love it if you borrowed a Donna Fasano novel. And tell all your romance-loving friends about my books. Thanks!

Chocolate Zucchini Bread #Recipe by @DonnaFaz

Chocolate Zucchini Bread sitting on a
flour sack tea towel that belonged to my mother
It’s that time of the year again. Harvest season. Zucchini is in abundance which means it costs very little at the grocery store or local farmer’s market. Here’s a new-to-me recipe. I hope you like it.

Chocolate Zucchini Bread


2 cups zucchini, grated
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup baking cocoa
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking powder


1. Pre-heat oven to 350° F.

2. In a large bowl, stir together the zucchini, sugar, oil, eggs, and vanilla until well blended. Combine the flour, cocoa, salt, baking soda, cinnamon and baking powder; gradually beat into sugar mixture until blended. Pour batter into a 9-inch x 5-inch loaf pan that has been coated with cooking spray.

3. Bake the chocolate zucchini bread for 50-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan. Cool completely before slicing. Yield: 1 loaf.


Kindle Book Awards Top 5 Finalist! @KindlBookReview

I am extremely excited to announce that my book, 
has been named a Top 5 Finalist in the 
sponsored by 
I'm a finalist in the romance category.
To see all the titles/all the categories, click here
Here's my lovely finalist badge. I am so honored!

THE SINGLE DADDY CLUB Boxed Set 99¢ ~ Save $7! @DonnaFaz

Get all 3 books for just 99¢!
Hurry! Sale ends Saturday at midnight!

Available in these fine stores:

US Kindle        UK Kindle        CA Kindle

What readers are saying:

"The Single Daddy Club Collection is a must read for fans of romance: read them separately, or devour them all in a quiet afternoon ~ you will not regret it." ~Gaele, an Amazon Top 1000 Reviewer

"I enjoyed the three books in this box set so very much. The characters were fun and funny and easy to love." ~A Kindle Customer

"Wonderful easy read with wonderful lessons in life." ~Cyn, an Kindle Reader