In Solidarity.

Seneca Falls, January 2017 Women’s March

It’s crazy how much time women spend marching. Men march, but they march off to war, looking to conquer and kill in the name of peace.
When we march, we are marching to save lives. To raise up our voices. To find community and strength. We march to build a future, not take them away.

Five years ago, I marched at Seneca Falls, seeing what was about to happen and trying desperately to stop it. Now, today, five years later, we march again.

Twenty years ago, I marched. Twenty years before that, our foremothers marched. One hundred years before that, our great grandmothers marched.

Today we are rising up and marching again across the nation, speaking out-no SHOUTING OUT- that we demand respect and autonomy when it comes to our bodies and being women.

I can’t march due to health issues, but I am there in spirit. I wrote this for all women, but especially the ones on the front lines. You got this.
Thank you.

*****
*Tomorrow’s Song*

The timeless song of eternity
calls from the womb to set us free.
Woman—and all we’re defined to be.
The seeds of our discontent, our success
no longer dormant within our genes.
From our first breath
to our last sigh
we battle and conquer predator and foe.
We wake up each morning, determined and alive—
sometimes faltering, but still we go.
Secrets faceless and fathomless
plague us before we utter a word.
Secrets not meant to be shared;
Secrets meant to be hidden in the dark.
While surface-wise we walk the walk,
talk the talk,
pretend to not care when people balk.
Pretend there’s no danger when we’re stalked.
And yet.
Days pass to years, and yes, some things change.
Yes, surface-wise nothing looks the same.
And so we keep on playing their silly games.
Ignoring the whisper we refuse to hear
Our Sovereignty is just one vote away.
It’s always just one vote away.
We march, we shout, we weep, we scream.
We face our nightmares, manifest our dreams.
We birth our babies, we cook our meals,
we clean our homes, we seal our deals.
We fight in boardrooms, bedrooms, and wars.
We drink and drug to hide our scars.
We drink and drug to hide our scars.
Until at death, by our own hand or by Fate,
we weigh and measure
and scrape our plate.
Then we pass on our mantle to the empowered and strong,
hoping they will rewrite tomorrow’s song.

Janine Phillips
May 14, 2022

TIME TO CELEBRATE the April 27th release of: LIFE IS FOR LIVING (Earth & Sky Series, Book 2)

Pick up your copy today!

Release Day for LIFE IS FOR LIVING is today! Woohoo!!
Thank you everyone who pre-ordered copies and voiced your excitement and anticipation!

This is SO EXCITING!

After you’ve grabbed your copy of LIFE IS FOR LIVING (Book 2 of the Earth and Sky Series), stop in and say hi @janinagreyauthor on Facebook.

I’ll be giving away copies of a behind the scenes peek at how Dan and Jayde met, first two chapters of LOST IN YOUR RHYTHM, a One-Question 3-Card Tarot Spread throughout the day, and other goodies!

While you’re at it, check out the musical Playlists I put together for Dan and Jayde
over on my YouTube Channel.

Don’t forget to stop in IN PERSON on Saturday, April 30 at Alabaster and Ash at 10169 Fuller Rd, Remsen, NY, where I will be kicking off the 2022 Janina Grey Book Tour from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Thank you for sharing my journey with me.
You all are amazing!

The Week of Empowered Successful Women!

I saw a post recently about surrounding yourself with women you look up to, so that you can be inspired. I’m all for building up and supporting the women in my life who have made it in one way or another.

Beginning Sunday, April 24, this week for me is a week of recognizing the Empowered Women in my life who have chosen to share my journey. I invite you to come along and enjoy the week-long celebration!

The celebration began on Sunday with my sister Jeana hosting me me on her blog – http://www.simple-sweet-living.com. Standing all of 5 feet 2 inches, Jeana is the embodiment of kick ass. At 50 years old she not only earned her Bachelors’ Degree, she secured a job teaching full-time, and had spent the previous 18 years raising her two sons as a Single Mom. She is amazing and inspires me daily.

Tuesday, April 26, my future daughter-in-law and very talented silversmith and owner of NURTURED BY NATURE DESIGNS, Jolene Deanna Pierce, is releasing her next collection of jewelry. In honor of my upcoming release, Jo has named this collection “Life is for Living” after the book that inspired her, LIFE IS FOR LIVING, Book 2 of my Earth & Sky series.

If you all remember, Jolene honored me with the release of my first book of the Earth and Sky Series, LOVE IN THE FOREST, with a similarly named collection of jewelry she lovingly handcrafted herself.

Here’s some very cool news for you! This partnership has come to life in so many ways. It seems Jo has set up shop within the Earth & Sky Series with a brick and mortar shop in the heart of the fictional village Demilune, NY, where the stories are based. It’s where Josh Quinn shopped for Brooke in LOVE IN THE FOREST, and where Dan and Jayde’s love story unfolds.

Then WEDNESDAY, April 27 we have my release of BOOK TWO of the Earth and Sky Series, LIFE IS FOR LIVING! So far reviewers are saying FANTASTIC things about this story, so I just KNOW you all are going to love this one as much as you loved LOVE IN THE FOREST and TEN BUCKS AND A WISH!

This week ends (but the fun really begins) with the Launch of my 2022 Earth and Sky Book Tour, with Alabaster and Ash of Remsen, NY hosting my first event! Owner, Daniee, is a power house fit to stand beside myself, Jeana, and Jo, with the healing and teaching mecca she has established in the heart of Oneida County, just 20 minutes north of Utica, NY.

Joining me at my table on Saturday, April 30, will be a former YWCA MV co-worker, Donna Lambert, who has also ventured out into the field of publishing as a contributing author of My Secret Life. Donna will be on hand selling copies of her book, and will stand beside me as one more amazing, empowered woman I surround myself in this lifetime.

Need motivation or affirmation that it’s okay to heal? Join us April 30th and celebrating strong women, both real and fictional.

So if you find yourself needing empowerment, or if you are empowered yourself and want to meet like-minded women, discover a really cool shop, and pick up your next favorite romance novel, head on down to the April 30th Book Signing and share in my celebration.

If you can’t make it, be sure to visit amazon.com/author/janinagrey and pick up LIFE IS FOR LIVING, LOVE IN THE FOREST, and TEN BUCKS AND A WISH to meet the empowered women in my stories who overcome all the obstacles in their lives to do the healing they need to do to trust their hearts and find true love.

Celebrating Jane

Janie Louise Solicito, 8th Grade, Selden, NY

April 20, 2022 is the 15th anniversary of my big sister’s death. Janie was 47 years old when she suffered a stroke. Except for some jaw pain and headaches, she never complained about her health to me. She went to bed on April 6 and my brother in law found her in the morning.

I’d spoken with her two days before. We always talked on my rides home from work, at least once a week, so that was my very last 20 minutes with healthy Jane I’d get to share. I hold that conversation close in my heart like a favorite tattered quilt you just can’t let go of, no matter how frayed the edges or worn the print has become.

We talked about my new position at the Y, my new boyfriend, family stuff. I updated her on Ant and Allie. I asked if she was still packing, as she’d been telling me they were moving to North Carolina. She said she had been. I told her I wished they could move up here, up the road. There was acreage for sale and she could have horses. We laughed about how if that happened we’d be the two crazy old ladies living on the hill. She asked if David made me happy, and I told her he did. And she said she couldn’t wait to meet him. We laughed because we still had each other’s Christmas presents to exchange, and I had her birthday presents from January.

We’d not seen one another in a while, the year before. She’d take the train up here a couple times a year and we’d spend a week or so drinking wine and catching up. We’d do Pizza Hut for breakfast, even though it freaked me out. But that was her thing, and hey, this was her vacation. We’d go to Denny’s for lunch and sit for hours, until we’d have to get home before the kids got home from school, drinking Denny’s out of coffee, yakking away.

One of Aunt Jay and Allie Rose’s gaming sessions.

We loved to smell each other. Crazy, I know. But when you love someone, you want to imprint them in your mind forever, so you smell them, and you recognize their scent so that they stay with you in as many ways as possible when they are not nearby. We’d hug each other and bury our noses in one anothers necks, breathe deeply, and say, “I love your smell.”

Jane had a hard life. She was a lover. She was a fighter. A nurturer. A Protector. A Path Forger. A Caregiver. A Singer. A lover of animals. A lover of music. She was short, but fierce. Tiny, but mighty. And when a law needed to be laid down, you went to Janie.

Clingman’s Dome, Janie and Janine
Janie was my idol and inspiration, and I always wanted to be as cool as she was.

Jane left home at 16 years old and moved in with her best Pal, Patty.

Patty and Jane

Jane went on to graduate high school with her class and finished her nursing certification, even though some people said she wouldn’t. In a way, Jane was continuing a cycle (my mom left home at 16 years old) but also breaking it (Jane completed her education, my mom never got the chance to). And she was determined to finish her schooling to show people she wasn’t quitting or giving up on life, she was doing what she needed to do to survive. And she did.

Janie, LPN

I miss her terribly, but she is with me still to this day. And she makes her presence known now and then, although not as frequently as when she first passed.

One of her most memorable (after life) visits was captured on a recording. I’d gotten David a new trail cam for Yule, and we wanted to see if we could capture any ghost activity in the house. So we set it up in various places. One video caught both of us sleeping, and you can hear in the background a guitar plinking. The second that happened we both (in our sleep) sighed very contentedly and loudly. The picture of Jane playing the guitar I posted at the start of this blog was on the corner shelf in our bedroom.

Jane loved music. She introduced me to Led Zeppelin, Fleetwood Mac, and Foghat. A few years after Jane’s death, me and the girls and David went to see Foghat at the Turning Stone in August 2008. I’d been lucky enough to snag a pre-concert telephone interview with Roger Earl for the paper I worked at, The Mercury, along with tickets and press passes for the concert. While there, we kept talking about how we wished Janie had been there to share this experience with us. Afterwards, there was a Meet and Greet with the band. We asked for a group photo, and they happily accommodated us. So Joy and Jeana and myself gathered around the band and David took the photo. And lo and behold, wouldn’t you know it. Look who showed up next to me and Roger!

I was photographing orbs back in the late 1990s. I never dreamed my sister Janie would present herself as one in a photo taken of her sisters and one of her favorite bands.
Pictured seated, left to right, The Late Great Craig MacGregor, Charlie Huhn, Bryan Bassett, and the beloved and still very much alive today, Roger Earl.
Standing, left to right, Joy, Jeana, Me (Janina)
Orb compliments of our big sis and beloved Foghat Fan, Janie Louise Solicito.

There are lots of other great memories of Janie, but I thought I’d share these more obscure moments as we honor her today. I’m saddened to say I don’t have a lot of pictures of the two of us as adults, or pictures with my son Anthony, who adored her. She didn’t like pictures because she thought she was ugly, a horrible practice I took up as well for a good part of my life.

One thing is for sure. She was and always will be my inspiration and often encouraged me to never give up on my dream of becoming a published author.

I love her and miss her so much. And that is something I know will never fade.
Blessed DeathDay, Janie Louise Solicito Snow.
I love you.

Me and Janie, 3rd and 5th grades.

We are not the artist. . .

April Snowstorms bring May…sogginess.

The unseasonable snows are the big picture, and we are not the artists. We are part of the canvas.

Our ancestors used to divide the year up into two parts – the light and the dark. The light would be summer, which began at the Vernal Equinox (Springtime, Mid-March) and end at the Autumnal Equinox in September (Fall). Midsummer is now called “the first day of Summer” in June, even though the Sun is at it’s peak and the days begin to grow shorter.

Winter would then begin at the Autumnal Equinox (Mid-September, Autumn) and end at the Vernal Equinox in Spring. Midwinter would be marked in December, on the day now referred to as the first day of Winter. And thus the year would turn.

So, even using this logic, the snows are out of season. But not for Upstate New York! Back in 2002 we had snow on May 18.

Don’t worry, it will melt in a couple of days. Get your kayaks ready!

It took David over FOUR HOURS to dig us out.
I miss sitting on my front porch swing watching traffic go by.
Luckily, we did not lose power!
David measured nine inches – of snow that is – on our mudroom porch. Another 26 inches at the end of the driveway.
We lost a lot of our lilac bushes.
They will have to be cut wayyyyyy back.
So much life was lost. This is our beautiful Grandmother Willow. We are going to plant her along the other side of the yard and hopefully they will root and grow.
As I was taking these pictures, an overhead branch gave a huuuge resounding crack. I tried to run but fell in the snow.
Luckily the branch did not give out and crush me. It was quite scary though.
It makes me weepy. But knowing we will get many more willows from this one heals my heart.

The snow is beautiful, while the timing is inconvenient. But it’s a reminder that we are a part of nature, we are not the main part, just a small part.

In a few hours a snow storm can wipe out the power for thousands of people. A flood can destroy neighborhoods. A tornado can wipe out a town. And people hate it and curse it. But yet, we fund billions of dollars for war, and war wipes out millions of lives, and we just keep funding it.

Who are the savages here? Mother Nature or humans?

So while the snows are troublesome, they remind us to slow down. Appreciate life. And understand that we are a part of the big picture, we are not the artist.