How to Live a Thousand Lives

According to George R.R. Martin, It’s as Easy as Opening a Book

Or a whole lot of them!

Welcome to Motivational Mondays!

As a child, and a teenager, I was shy. And I don’t mean your run-of-the-mill, garden variety shy either. I remember having one friend in grade school. One. Then hanging out at a table in the lunch room in junior high with other shy, not cool girls like me. Not really friends, but we knew one another’s names, so we didn’t have to eat alone. Fortunately, I was close with my sister and a couple of cousins. 

From about second grade on, I’ve tended to prefer the company of fictional characters over that of most other humans. The people who live in books have been – and still are – my friends. They’re always there. They don’t judge. And we’ve always have the best adventures! More importantly, they helped to keep the loneliness at bay. They still do.

(For the record, I eventually outgrew the extreme shyness, though I remain most comfortable in small groups.)

Throw a Dart at a World Map…

…and I’ll bet there’s a story set wherever it lands. Just off the top of my head, I know I’ve visited – and learned about – Australia, Ireland, England, Paris, Italy, Canada, many of the United States, and even Mars. I’ve enjoyed islands, beaches, small towns, big cities, and places so far off the beaten path, it’s a miracle anyone could ever find them.

Through the wonderful written word, I’ve traveled in rockets, airplanes, cruise ships, trains, horses, and stagecoaches. I’ve experienced different customs, cuisines, fashions, and traditions. I’ve lived in cramped apartments, suburban houses, and mansions.

Don’t Have the Time or Money to Take a Vacation? 

Wherever you’d like to go, a book can transport you there – and at bargain prices. Books will expand your horizons, make you think, make you cry, infuriate you, and often leave you wearing a mysterious smile long after you’ve turned the last page.

I don’t know if George R.R. Martin was the first person to say, “A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one.” Whether he did, or did not, it’s true.

But- But- What About the Movie?

I’m not knocking movies. Believe me, I’m not. In fact, I’m a fan of a fair number of them. But if you read “the story” before you see “the movie,” you’re always going to be let down because scripts leave out too many important parts. If you see the movie first, sometimes, it’s hard to get into the book.

There are only two times recall movies doing the books justice – The Host, by Stephenie Meyer (bookmovie), and The Martian, by Andy Weir (bookmovie). Those were affiliate links, by the way. Learn more about them by clicking here.

While I enjoyed reading and watching them,  the books offered so much more detail – and kept me enthralled for many hours longer than the movies. It’s kind of like the difference between a quick trip to town after you forgot a gallon of milk – and a leisurely drive up M-37 during October, enjoying the fall colors, and stopping at interesting places along the way.

Shameless plug…

As much as I love reading, I think I love writing even more. And my stories take you from a small town in lower Michigan (the Coach’s Boys series), to islands in northern lower Michigan and just south of Greenland (the Royal Sweethearts series), to the Lake Michigan coast (the Weko Harbor series) … and more! (those are affiliate links too, as are the ones below – sorry, FTC rules require I disclose this information to you)

Almost all of my books can be read for FREE with a Kindle Unlimited subscription! You can even try it free for 30 days. For fast readers, 21 of my books are available in Kindle Unlimited (hint, hint 🙂 ). Don’t have a Kindle? No problem. You can get free Kindle reading apps for pretty much any kind of digital device too!

Whatever you read, however you read it, I hope you find some time this week to escape. To take a brief vacation. To just get away and relax for a while – in the pages of your favorite books!

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Why I Believe Sugar Feeds Cancer…

…And Why I Think You Should Believe it Too

Fitness Friday!

A Romance Author’s Quest to Get Fit on the Cheap

I first discovered the sugar-cancer connection when my dad was diagnosed with ‘cancer of unknown origins’ in 2002. Given the symptoms, and where the cancer was located, it was likely Mesothelioma, but people in the medical field – at least then – didn’t like to open that can of worms.

Dad was given six months to a year, even with chemo and radiation. He lived thirteen months, so we got a little bonus there. During that time, he craved sweets like mad. Based on the countless hours of research my sister and I did, it became obvious why that happened.

Fast Forward to 2020 and My Surprise Cancer Diagnosis

Technically, I was diagnosed with two different kinds of cancer within two weeks. Skin and colon. Thank God they found mine much earlier than my father’s. I didn’t need chemo or radiation – for which I’ll be forever grateful.

I’ll also be doing everything in my power to make sure I don’t have a recurrence – or any other kind of cancer. At least as much as it’s in my power to prevent it. Hence, my renewed focus on diet and health, with that focus being largely on a low carb, low glycemic, gluten free lifestyle.

So Why DO I Believe in the Sugar-Cancer Connection?

For many reasons. Many studies. Studies many traditional scoff at. So, for today’s purposes, I’ll focus on a single reason. And that is the protocol for having a PET scan to try and detect cancer. Click here for the Henry Ford Health System PET scan instructions.

In a nutshell, you eat a low carb/keto diet the day before the scan, and then nothing but maybe a couple of saltine crackers, if you need to take a medication with food. Your blood glucose level will be tested. If it’s too high, your scan will likely be rescheduled. If it’s fine, you’ll be injected with … “radioactive sugar.”

~~~~~~~

Did you know my novel, Holding Out for Love deals with cancer? So does A Fine Mess, which I wrote as a kind of ‘what if’ based on my dad. Though I did make the mother in that story the cancer patient. It would have been too hard emotionally if I’d made the heroine’s dad the sick one. Click the titles to check them out! (these links are affiliate links, learn more about them by clicking here)

~~~~~~~

Why a Low Carb Diet – Followed by Radio Active Sugar?

Based on all of the research I did in 2002/03, and then since my cancer ‘adventure,’ I believe it’s because cancer does thrive on sugar/glucose. That’s why patients are instructed to avoid all foods that make glucose in the body the day of (and the full day before) the PET scan. The cancer cells need to be starving for the fuel they need to grow and spread. That way, when the radioactive sugar is injected, the hungry cancer cells will suck it up before most healthy cells can.

This is why I’m determined to make low carb my permanent lifestyle. The Trim Healthy Mama (aka THM) (another affiliate link) low carb diet, to be specific. I never want a repeat. It took more than two years since the last surgery (to reverse the colostomy I needed for four months after the cancer was removed) before I committed to low carb 100%. But now that I am – 111 days into it now – it’s normal.

The foods I can have make me happy. The foods I can’t have? Most of the time, I’m fine with it. The cravings are mostly gone. Every now and then though, I get an annoying craving for macaroni and cheese. But, I never give in. And as with most things I love, I will find a satisfying substitute.

Why Did I Share This With You Today?

First, my dad died on August 30, 2003 – Labor Day weekend that year. So … memories. Then, there’s the fact that we all know people who have lived – or died – with cancer. And, finally, the diet/cancer connection made the news again this week (click here for one article).

Like the old saying goes, ‘forewarned is forearmed.’ So if you’re reading this and thinking maybe you’d like to eat a healthier, cancer-UNfriendly diet, or learn more about it, please feel free to share in the comments section of this (and future) blog posts. We can cheer one another on!

Click here to subscribe to my newsletter – and to get your FREE digital copy of Hard Goodbyes and New Beginnings – the prequel for my new Weko Harbor series!

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10 Ways to Beat The Monday Blues

Motivational Monday

Ditch the Crowd

This is a fork in the road moment.

For too many years, I hated to see the end of each weekend. There was never enough time to enjoy all the things I wanted to do. Why? Because the hours between six o’clock on Friday and when the alarm jolted me out of my sleep on Monday morning flew by faster than the Enterprise zipping through universe at warp seven.

And then one day, I saw the title of a book. I didn’t actually read the book. Nope. Just the title. For some reason, it resonated with me – and changed my life. It helped me to take a look at me – and decide what was actually important.

Happiness is a choice…

How many people in your circle hate Mondays? Really. How many? I’m guessing most of them. And if I were to make another guess, the thought of Monday morning ruins at least part of their Sundays. They dislike the workweek so much, they start stressing over it a day early.

That sets up an ugly cycle of living for two days a week, while resenting the rest. Sure, those ‘other days’ are the ones that bring in the money to pay the bills, but all weekend lovers do is endure them until the ‘good days’ come back around.

What kind of life is that?

Think about it for a minute. There are 52 weekends a year. One-hundred and four days. Add another 5 days to that number for major holidays … and that leaves 256 days to dread. Every. Single. Year.

Is that really how you want to spend the rest of your working life? Maybe you’ll get lucky and find a job you love. But what if you don’t?

It’s time to stop dreaming about what might never be…

…and enjoy your life now! At least more than you have been. Unless, of course, you actually enjoy being stressed and unhappy. And some people do. In fact, they thrive on it.

If that’s you, carry on. Whatever floats your boat. If that’s not you, however, it’s time to figure out some ways to stop being miserable as your weekends come to a close. 

Here are a few suggestions to get you started.

  • Take pride in your work. Make it your top priority. Maybe this isn’t your first choice of a job, but give it your all. At the end of the day, you can look back with a sense of accomplishment – instead of dragging your butt to your vehicle, weary because you had to slog through another shift.
  • If you don’t enjoy being around your co-workers, spend your breaks in a quiet place, or even your vehicle. While there, listen to your favorite music.
  • Pray
  • Enjoy a few pages of the book you’re currently reading (or listening to)
  • Meditate
  • Listen to (or watch) a short motivational podcast or video.
  • Watch a funny YouTube video. As the old saying goes, laughter really is good medicine.
  • Close your eyes and rest – but be sure to set a timer so you don’t fall asleep! Sometimes, a little rest is all you need to refresh yourself – and your outlook.
  • Remember, even though there will always be things you can’t change, you can change how you react to it. You can dread and resent parts of your life, or you can look for something – no matter how small – that’s good, and focus on that instead.
  • Make sure you schedule time after work to relax for a little while. But also do something you enjoy. Spend time on a hobby, or an activity like running or working out the gym. Whatever you like to do. You don’t have to devote hours to the things you love. Half an hour here, an hour there – it can all help to fill the ‘Bank of (insert name here)’s Happiness.

Try some of these things. Or even just one. If it reduces your misery level by a measly 10%, it’s still an improvement, right?

Need more inspiration?

Click here to read about a man who had every reason to to be unhappy. To live a life that was a perpetual pity party. Instead, he chose to make the best of what he had to work with. He set a high bar for anyone who might want to excel as he did. Let’s hope we’re all people who want to excel and strive for a better, happier life.

Click here to subscribe to my newsletter – and to get your FREE digital copy of Hard Goodbyes and New Beginnings – the prequel for my new Weko Harbor series!

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5 Ways to Enjoy Your Life More

A Romance Author’s Quest to Get Fit on the Cheap

5 Ways to Enjoy Your Life More

And stop wondering where all of your time is going.

Yesterday morning, I was reminded once again of how short life is. Of how unexpectedly the time you thought had left can be over. So, I’m doing what I always do when something hurts and I don’t want to deal with it. I’m trying to lose myself in words.

If you’ve been following my blog from the beginning (thank you for sticking around for more than a decade!), you will have read tributes for my daughter, my dad, and at least a couple of other family members and/or friends. It’s just what I do, I guess.

Times like this also remind me that we need to live our lives. And to live them well.

Is there really such a thing as a second chance to get something right?

No one knows for sure (that I’ve been able to find anyway) who said, “You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.”

Maybe it appeals to the writer in my, but I like it more than the whole second chance thing. We can’t go back and change something we should have done, or undo something we shouldn’t have done. But we can move forward from where we are – and try to do better.

How do we do that?

I suspect that many people in the world are just like me – overwhelmed with information coming at us from every direction. And buying into the lie that in order to live a fulfilling life, we need to cram everything we can into every available minute of every day.

One thing we can do is to make a list of everything we do, cross off everything that wastes our time and energy, and then focus on what’s left. On the things that are the most important to us.

It sounds easier than it actually is because there are so many things trying to steal our attention from what really matters. But if what really matters is truly a priority, we must find a way. If we don’t, irreplaceable hours of our lives will disappear, leaving behind a world of regrets.

What does a priority list look like?

That’s easy…

  1. Step away from the electronics. That means phones, tablets, computers, game devices, and televisions. Technology is harming lives, relationships, health, and more. (read about that here). Spend less time in the virtual world and more time in the real world!
  2. Eat healthier foods. I’m not suggesting you go full on vegetarian or carnivore, but if you look at your diet, you know there are changes you could make. Eating healthier will make you feel better, and when you feel better, you enjoy life more!
  3. Get more sleep. Very few people need to fill every minute of every day with something. Technically, no one does. This article talks about how sleep deprivation affects job performance. But you know what? Sleep deprivation affects every area of our lives. It’s hard to be our best, and to give our best, when we’re perpetually exhausted.
  4. Move. And I don’t mean move to a new home. I mean move the ‘home’ YOU live in. Move your body. I’ve read enough in the past few years that I’ve decided the Pomodoro Technique is going to be my go-to fitness program. Many experts think moving for several minutes every hour (or half hour) is better than one longer chunk of exercise each day. So do I. In fact, I like to use it outside of my work hours too. I like to alternate range of motion stretches, walking in place – or around the house – while doing arm exercises with light weights, and quick cleaning jobs. The more physically fit and limber you are, the better you feel … and the more you will enjoy life.
  5. Find a hobby you love – and spend time enjoying it. Hobbies you love can help reduce stress and depression, and make you feel better and happier with life.

I know I said I was going to keep this part of my life confined to ‘The God Thing’ page, but this suggestion can also help you enjoy life more. Find a church home with people who feel like a family. It really does make a difference.

A reluctant goodbye to a man who loved life – and his family.

The moment Jesus ushered you into heaven this morning, you left behind a world of pain and sickness – and for that, I’m grateful. But you also left behind many, many people whose hearts are broken. Hearts that will always hold memories of you close. Hearts that will love you forever. I know the family members who got there first are rejoicing over the reunion, but those of us still here miss you, Uncle Dave. We always will.

And now, even though it feels weird, I still have to work…

Click here to subscribe to my newsletter – and to get your FREE digital copy of Hard Goodbyes and New Beginnings – the prequel for my new Weko Harbor series!

And keep following me for updates.

One of the best ways I’ve found to stay on track is to be accountable to others – both for my writing goals and my health goals. And if you feel like joining me on my journey to a more slender, healthier, and active me, please do. Keep me posted in the comments below on how you’re doing. I’d love to cheer you on!

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How I Made it Through a Reception … With NO Cake!

A Romance Author’s Quest to Get Fit on the Cheap

How I Made it Through a Reception …
With NO Cake!

(Without feeling deprived!)

I have always been a sucker for bakery cakes. And I’m not exaggerating. Not even a little bit. I especially love the frosting – and the more, the better. Ever since I was a kid, my hope was always to get a corner piece, one with a big flower on top, or – at the very least – an edge piece. Those hopes were usually dashed when I would be handed a center piece with nothing but a thin layer of frosting on the top.

Yeah, I love a good bakery cake. If you have any doubts, you can read my post, The Worst Birthday … Ever!, by clicking the pink title.

So, when the wedding invitation arrived in the mail – after I’d finally committed to a low carb way of life, Trim Healthy Mama, aka THM, to be exact (affiliate link alert – learn more about those by clicking here) – I was nervous. Receptions usually mean yummy dinner rolls, croutons on salads, and they always include the pièce de résistance … the cake.

I didn’t want all of my hard to to be for nothing…

…so there was a lot of praying. A lot of bargaining with myself – as in, it’s just one meal. In the grand scheme of things, what can it really hurt?

But I knew one meal could actually hurt a lot.

It had taken a couple of weeks for most of the brain fog to go away, and for my energy to return, after giving up the foods that make me feel bad. And I knew from experience that one bite of the wrong food could result in another two week detox – and I didn’t want to deal with that again!

So… What did I do?

You might have read my last post, Nothing Tastes as Good as Healthy Feels. I wrote that sixty-seven days into my new lifestyle. The day of the wedding would be ninety days. 

And I didn’t want to blow it. Not even for the cake I’ve loved all of my life. So, I had a plan. I would take two low carb protein shakes with me. I’d have the first one on the drive to the venue. Then later, if there were no on-plan foods, I’d sneak back out to the van and have the second one.

Fortunately, there were a number of foods I could eat. Fresh grapes, strawberries, and pineapple chunks (all allowed – in small quantities – on Trim Healthy Mama), and pulled pork – with NO sugary barbecue sauce. It worked out perfectly!

A little wisdom from Ben Franklin.

Mr. Franklin is credited with saying, “If you fail to plan, you’re planning to fail,” and it’s truer than you might think. I’ve successfully navigated a number of events this summer – all centered around food. And the only reason I’ve been able to do so is because I planned in advance what I’d do to avoid temptation.

Sometimes, that meant bringing a dish that I could eat – and that everyone else could too. Other times, it meant eating before I arrived, or bringing a snack to eat on the way home, or quickly (and on the sly) during an event.

Is it a pain? In the beginning, it was. Now, it’s just a normal part of my life. My health, and feeling good again, is important enough that it’s worth the little extra planning and work it takes to continue eating the right foods for me.

Why?

Because I love feeling better. Because I love being able to think more clearly again. Because I love what I do.

After not being able to write for several years – from pure, food-fueled exhaustion – it’s nice to be back at work again.

No, I’m not at 100% yet, but I’m getting there. And I hope you’ll be with me in this quest for better health and fitness. And for my books. 🙂

Click here to subscribe to my newsletter – and to get your FREE digital copy of Hard Goodbyes and New Beginnings – the prequel for my new Weko Harbor series!

And keep following me for updates.

One of the best ways I’ve found to stay on track is to be accountable to others – both for my writing goals and my health goals. And if you feel like joining me on my journey to a more slender, healthier, and active me, please do. Keep me posted in the comments below on how you’re doing. I’d love to cheer you on!

Posted in #romance, #THM, #Trim Healthy Mama, affiliate link(s), free books, Goals, Newsletter, Trim Healthy Mama (THM), Weko Harbor Series, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Nothing Tastes as Good as Healthy Feels

I don’t know who put that particular twist on a similar saying, but they were spot on!

If you’ve followed my blog for any length of time over the past eleven years or so, you know what a struggle it’s been for me to stay gluten free. In fact, it’s been such a struggle that I’ve been eating gluten pretty freely for the past five or six years.

And I’ve suffered for it too. With little energy. With brain fog so ‘thick’ I could hardly think straight, much less make any headway with writing and editing. It’s hard to find the motivation to do anything when you’re always so tired you’re just thinking about the next nap, or bedtime. But no matter how much sleep you get, you never feel rested.

I’ve been trying to do better. I missed writing. I’ve always written, since I was eight or ten years old. I missed living my life too. So I’ve tried. I knew the Trim Healthy Mama (aka THM – affiliate link alert! Learn more about those by clicking here) plan was a way of life I could get totally on board with. Except I was never totally on board with it. I kept eating lavash bread and low carb tortillas – all with wheat in the ingredient lists … and wondering why I never felt any better. And why I always caved and bought the jelly donuts, fast food burgers (with buns), and my favorite pizza.

Well, in May, a friend asked me if I’d ever actually stayed on the plan for a full month. And I had to admit that I had not.

Wasn’t the whole point of sticking to a healthy diet for a week or ten days to reward yourself with a cheat meal? Or in my case, a cheat day. Or a cheat week, month, or a few months. And in between, I made sure I had plenty of keto/low carb breads and tortillas.

I guess there just comes a point in life where you feel so bad, where life seems so hard, that health has to become a priority. And when my friend asked that question, something finally clicked. I couldn’t keep complaining that nothing was working. That I never felt any better. I couldn’t keep doing that if I never gave THM a real chance. 

So, I made up my mind I was going to give it a full thirty days. But if I was going to do it, I needed to do it right. I had to give up the gluten again. All those books I wrote between 2013 and mid-2016? I wrote them when I was gluten-free. Free of brain fog. And I wanted that again.

For the first time since ‘trying’ THM in 2018, I made it two weeks without a single cheat. And something changed in my mindset at that point. A ‘knowing’ that continued to get stronger with each passing day.

Before the end of May, much as I loved the weekly potlucks at my church, I knew I had to stop eating anything that wasn’t low carb. That meant I would need to start bringing my own low carb food, in addition to a dish to pass. And with that decision, the cheating through Friday stopped.

In the morning, I’ll be waking up to my sixty-eighth day of no sugar, no gluten, and no high glycemic carbs. I did try to have a cheat day this past Sunday. After church, I decided I deserved a reward, so I hit the gluten-free aisle at the store. I already knew which foods I loved, but every package I picked up? All I could see were the carbs, and they were so high, I cringed.

But it wasn’t just that reason that caused me to put each package back on the shelf. Yeah, it all sounded good. But I was also a little scared. A couple of weeks ago, I got glutened – with maybe an eighth of a teaspoon (probably half that!) of wheat flour in two tiny bites of food I wanted to taste. And while this stuff would have no wheat in it, it was all still full of sugar and high carb starches.

Apparently, the cleaner your diet, the worse these foods can hit you, if you’re sensitive to them. And I am. I felt so horrible – for two solid weeks – after the gluten, I was afraid something similar would happen with the sugar and other ingredients I’d cut out of my diet. I’d been making huge amounts of progress on Quinn’s book, and Weko 2 (more affiliate links). That all came to a screeching halt. I’m just now back to feeling good again, and hoping to make up for lost time.

Why tell you all of this? Because I wanted you to know that if you think you’ll never be able to give up foods you love for your health … if you give it thirty days, you might be surprised. Like me, you might find that your brain fog goes away. You might have more energy too. And the inflammation that makes every ache and pain you might have a million times worse? That improves too. By a lot.

Something else? With diet alone, I went from my doctor wanting me on a prescription for triglycerides and cholesterol (not horribly high, but inching their way up) – to everything on my blood test results being in the normal range. I had several flags. I had pre-diabetes. Now, it’s all normal.

Do I still want the jelly donut or pizza? Sometimes. But it’s not a strong craving. And there are so many things on THM that satisfy my cravings, I’m rarely tempted by them anymore.

And even if I was, just like on Sunday, I have to ask myself if it’s worth feeling awful again. And that answer is no. I think it always will be. Because once I took the time to get used to this new way of eating, I stopped feeling deprived. I started feeling empowered and confident. 

Having energy again? Being able to think clearly again? Being able to spend time doing what I love – writing again? Nothing tastes as good as healthy feels. Nothing.

I was trying to think of a song that describes where I’m at right now. Of course, you know Fight Song came immediately to mind. But then another favorite did. And I think that’s actually more appropriate for this post. Sometimes, you have to hit bottom – or empty – before you’re motivated to make a change. I’m glad I hit that place, because there’s nowhere to go from here but up. 

I don’t know if you’ll ever see this, Debbie, but thank you. And thank you, Tari. You both have helped me more than you’ll ever know.

Oh yeah! I thought it was time for yet another change, and did a little redecorating around here. Hope you like the ‘paint!’

Posted in #amediting, #romance, #THM, #Trim Healthy Mama, affiliate link(s), Goals, Love | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Good Afternoon, Weko Harbor! 7/20/22

Surprise! This is Joss, back for another Monroe Minute! Perhaps you’ll recall – if your memory is long enough – that my last post was around mid-June. Because, it seems that while Kristy’s intentions are good when she invites someone to be a guest contributor, when she’s in the middle of a writing or editing process, she forgets you’re alive.

Kristy here. Yes, I was in the middle of an editing project. In fact, I’ve been IN the middle of TWO projects. So I have been a bit distracted. And yes, I did forget that I’d invited Joss to be a guest on the website – SOMETIMES. If YOU recall, it wasn’t exactly a weekly gig.

Weekly? C’mon, Kristy, it’s been six weeks. That’s not sometimes. That’s once in a blue moon.

I think you’re letting this newfound fame, and the excitement over finding you’ll be starring in your own book, go to your head.

I would let it go to my head, but given the length of time between my segments, I expect you’ll get to my book in just as timely a manner. Like when I’m eighty, and too old to be a proper romantic hero.

Technically, you’re not that far away from that now, are you?

Hey! Forty-one is not remotely close to being over the hill. For your information- Oh. You’re joshing, aren’t you?

Took you long enough to figure it out. And, I suppose I do owe you an apology. I’ll try to schedule you in more frequently. Okay?

I’ll believe it when I see it.

Better watch it, Joss, or you might tempt me to hook you up with Gloria McWilliams.

Gloria McWilliams?! She used to be my teacher. And she’s old enough to be my mother! Probably my grandmother!

She’ll be the only in a hundred mile radius who will give you the time of day if you don’t stop acting like a temperamental diva.

…….

Joss?

…….

Joss?

All righty then. Once again, this is Joss Monroe with your Monroe Minute.

Given the heatwave that’s sweeping most of the country, and our own little community, Doug, over at Dairy Delights, is offering a buy one, get one free deal for any shake, sundae, or Blendable. This sweet deal is only available through Sunday, so take advantage of it while you can.

And speaking of the heatwave… The Board of Education, working in conjunction with the local churches, have opened the junior high cafeteria as a cooling center this week. The hours of operation are 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. each day, and there will be plenty of water, sandwiches, and homemade cookies – at no charge. Special thanks go out to the Surf ‘n Soda Shack, Smitty’s Family Restaurant, Sweet Creations Bakery, and the Harbor Market for donations.

That’s it for this installment of the Monroe Minute. Kristy says to let you know that she’s on what she hopes is the second to last round of edits for Quinn’s Saving Grace, but running a bit behind on The Bell Ringer’s Christmas (book 2 in the Weko Harbor series). She hopes you don’t mind Christmas in July being postponed for Christmas in August instead.

Don’t forget, if you haven’t gotten your free copy of the Weko Harbor prequel, Hard Goodbyes and New Beginnings just sign up for Kristy’s newsletter (click here). If you don’t want to to get anymore updates in your email inbox, all you need to do is scroll to the bottom of the newsletter and click ‘unsubscribe.’ But don’t do it until you get the prequel! And if you like the prequel, click home page on her website for links to get book one in the series – Loser Wins the Girl.

And now, time for some musical inspiration for your favorite author – and mine. No, not Jack Foster. Our very own Kristy K. James, who I’m sure will introduce me to my future true love one day soon.

 

 

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Getting to Know … Tara Nelson

Hey, everyone…

Welcome back! Sorry for the delay in getting a post – or few – up over the past couple of weeks, but Joss misspoke when he said I was within fifteen pages of the ‘final’ edits. Technically, it was the last major round of editing/rewrites. I had one important thing left –  reading along with Microsoft David – the robotic voice who reads my story to me as I go through the manuscript.

Listening while reading is a bigger help than most people realize. It not only helps to point out where I’ve added words I hadn’t intended to, but where I haven’t added words that should be there. It also helps highlight ‘clunky’ parts of a story.

Then, once I finished (FINISHED!) Quinn’s book, I promptly forgot about the blog. Why? Because I immediately started working on the editing and rewrites for the second installment in the Weko Harbor series. Oops.

Joss isn’t happy with me right now, and I don’t blame him. But I’ve promised to post another of his ‘articles’ next week. I hope that giving him the platform to reach a wider audience isn’t going to his head. All I need is for him to throw a wrench into my plans for the series by leaving for a radio station with a larger listening audience.

Moving on…

Microsoft David and I are currently about thirty pages from ‘The End’ of Weko 2. I suspect I’m going to have to add a couple of more scenes, but am crossing all of my fingers and toes that it will be out before the end of the month.

While I continue working, I thought it was high time you get to meet the heroine of that story … Tara Nelson.

Something people would be surprised to know about you?
That I love to read romance novels. Not just to read, but to imagine myself as the heroine who winds up with her happily-ever-after. Because honestly? Sometimes, I need to pretend that life will get easier. And books provide those brief escapes.

Favorite sport?
If you mean watching sports on television, none.  But I do love supporting our local softball and football teams. From the little guys playing T-ball, to the high school’s Weko Harbor Warriors. I don’t get to go to many games these days, but totally enjoy them when I can.

And, continuing in that category, are you good at any kind of sports? If not, which one do you wish you could play?
I wouldn’t say I’m ‘good’ at sports, but I’m not terrible either. I love a good game of volleyball on the beach. Truth be told, I also enjoy playing impromptu softball games when the gang gets together, though that hasn’t happened in so long, I can’t remember the last time.

Worst job you’ve ever had?
I’ve never had a worst job. My first job was working at the Surf ‘n Soda Shack, and Hank Rutledge – along with all of my co-workers – made it a dream job. Then, I went to work for Smitty, and he’s great too! Now I will say that my part-time job at the Super-Mart can be a challenge, both because it makes for a really long day when I’m working there too. But my supervisor, Eileen… Sorry. I can’t go there. Gran is one of those people who live by the Golden Rules, and one of the most important ones is, ‘if you can’t say something nice about a person, don’t say anything at all.’ So, I’m not saying anything more about Eileen.

Besides a human being, and Weko Harbor, what’s the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen?
A heavy snowfall. The kind with big fat flakes of snow, when it’s coming down so hard that houses a few doors down look like they’re kind of blurred out. When the branches of all kinds of trees, but especially pines and blue spruce, look like something from a Thomas Kinkade painting.

Favorite (or least favorite) household chore?
I love folding laundry, especially when it’s warm out of the dryer on cold winter days. I hate dusting. Gran has a ton of knickknacks, and it takes forever. I did convince her to get a couple of curio cabinets a few years ago, so that makes it easier. But Grampa, when he was alive, bought her so many pink things. Bears, owls, blown glass things. And now that he’s gone, she can’t bear to part with any of them. And I wouldn’t ask her to. But dusting them all? I’d rather scrub a toilet, but don’t tell Gran I said that.

If money was no object, what would be the perfect vacation?
I’d love to go to Ireland. I love everything I’ve ever seen and read about it. And the accents? I could listen to Liam Neeson and Colin Farrell talk during interviews forever.

What is your best or worst memory from school?
The bullies would be the worst memory. Kind of like out of any work of fiction you could ever watch or read. There was a group of girls… Again, this would fall under one of Gran’s Golden Rules. Let’s just say they didn’t like me – or any kids who didn’t come from well off families. The best memories? I loved almost everything else about school. I love to read, and to learn. And my friends. Of course, you know they were mostly from the youth group.

If you’d had a say in what you were named, what would we be calling you now?
Gran told me my mother wanted to name me Allison, but my dad loved the name Tara. She said they flipped a coin and Dad won. So, in honor of them, I’d probably just go with what they named me – Tara Allison.

And finally, if you could go back in time to your graduation day, what advice would you offer your younger self?
I don’t know that graduation day advice, even from a hindsight perspective, could be any better than what Hank Rutledge told me after my college plans fell through. “Life isn’t always milkshakes and marshmallows, Tara. Sometimes, it’s liver and lemons. And the good Lord knows you’ve had your fair share of liver and lemons. But, you can face whatever the future holds with a grateful heart – or not. The choice is always up to you.”

And that’s it for this post. Hope you enjoyed getting to know Tara. I know I sure did!

Don’t forget, if you want to get the free Weko Harbor prequel, click here to sign up for my newsletter. And if you want to read book 1 in the series, Loser Wins the Girl, click here for purchase links. That was an affiliate link. Learn more about those here.

Also (affiliate link alert here too): If you haven’t read the first three installments of the Royal Sweethearts series – before Quinn’s book hits the digital shelves – you can pick up your copies of A Prince on the Run, The Physician to the King, and The Princess and the Bodyguard, by clicking here for the purchase links. As soon as Hoopla removes them from their site – soon, I hope – they will be exclusive with Amazon – where you can read them for free with your Kindle Unlimited subscription.

Quinn’s Saving Grace (book 4 in the series) will be available at iTunes, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and Smashwords for 2-4 weeks before joining books 1-3 in Kindle Unlimited.

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Good Afternoon, Weko Harbor! 6/18/22 (Cover Reveal Too!)

Welcome back for another Monroe Minute! Joss here, hoping your week was a good one, and that you’re enjoying this beautiful weekend as much as I am. It’s a cool sixty-two here at the lighthouse, but for all you beach lovers – no worries. Monday will usher in a bit more of the heatwave we enjoyed last week.

Sorry, Kristy, but some of us do look forward to the sweltering days you – don’t love. I will give you that eighties and nineties in the middle of June is a definitely not spring your typical spring weather in Michigan . But, it is what it is, and I’m okay with that. You should learn to be too. 

Let’s kick things off here with a reminder that the annual Weko Harbor Classic Car Festival will begin this coming Friday, with a free showing of Grease and American Graffiti at the Hi-Lite Drive in.

Saturday morning, at eight-thirty, St. Mary’s, the First Baptist church, and Weko Assembly will once again be hosting their Beach Street Block Breakfast, east of Chandler Park. Proceeds will help to fund St. Mary’s Food Pantry, so bring your appetite – and your wallets. And don’t forget to be generous.

Breakfast will be followed by the classic car parade, at ten o’clock sharp. Afterward, your favorite cars and trucks will head to the high school parking lot, where you can admire them all afternoon.

Be sure to check out the craft show in Chandler Park, as well as other activities around town – including the sailboat race from Tulley Falls to Weko Harbor at five.

With my minute quickly turning into two, I’ll just remind everyone to check the circulars in the Gazette. Lots of good sales going on this week.

And finally, Kristy says to let you all know she’s down to about fifteen pages of what she hopes are the final edits in book four of her Royal Sweethearts series.

She also told me that while it’s been a hard decision, digital copies of most of her books will be pulled from most online stores within the next two or three weeks, so if you purchase them anywhere but Amazon, you should get your copies now. She does want to assure everyone that all new releases will continue to be available at all stores – for a minimum of two weeks. Her decision will not affect paperback and audible books. They will still be available wherever they’re at now.

Per usual, she’s asked me to provide some inspiration for what she hopes is her final night of editing Quinn’s story. Of course, you know I’m happy to oblige. Enjoy, everyone!

***Note from Kristy…
Newsletter subscribers have already seen it, but now I’m posting it here too!

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Getting to Know … Nick

 

Hey, everyone! Mattie Adams, mayor of Weko Harbor – and owner of the Weko Gazette – emailed me with a great idea for the blog! Given that most of my time and attention are on finishing edits for the fourth installment in the Royal Sweethearts series (Quinn’s book), she thinks it would be the perfect time for readers to get to know the future stars of the Weko Harbor series with this short interview.

I thought it was a great idea too, so I asked around, to see if any of them would be interested. No surprise, they are overwhelmingly in favor of this plan. With one caveat. Since some of this is very personal, we have to keep their answers between us. I told them I didn’t think it would be a problem. Right?

And now, without further ado, let’s get to know Nick Rutledge a little better. 

Something people would be surprised to know about you?
Gramps was a huge fan of old John Wayne westerns so, no surprise, they’re my favorites too. When I need to escape for the day, I’ll buy a bag of chips, some dip, a package of peanut butter sandwich cookies, and order a pizza. Then, let the movie marathon begin!

Favorite sport?
It depends on the season. Winter, it’s college football. Summer? The Detroit Tigers, what else?

And, continuing in that category, are you good at any kind of sports? If not, which one do you wish you could play?
Ever see the movie, Runaway Bride? I’m kind of like her, except that I’m not a woman, I’ve never been engaged, and I’ve never run out on a wedding. But I am good at running away. In fact, if running away was an Olympic sport, I’d have one the gold. But, like Maggie, I’ve hung up my running shoes. I do, however, enjoy running on the beach. Is that a sport?

Worst job you’ve ever had?
A janitor while I was at college. Specifically, cleaning the bathrooms. Enough said.

Besides a human being, and Weko Harbor, what’s the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen?
I’m going to say it was an old, weathered barn in Indiana. It was like a photo you’d see in a magazine. The sky was blue, with fluffy, pure white clouds grass. And the grass and leaves on the trees so … green. Purple and white wildflowers were growing everywhere. I actually pulled over to the side of the dirt road to just look at it for a while.

Favorite (or least favorite) household chore?
Dusting. It covers everything. And the more dustables – that’s what my mother calls them – there are, the more I dislike the chore.

If money was no object, what would be the perfect vacation?
That’s easy. A world-wide cruise with plenty of scheduled stops.

What is your best or worst memory from school?
Let’s just say I trusted someone I shouldn’t have – and leave it at that.

If you’d had a say in what you were named, what would we be calling you now?
I can’t think of anything I’d rather be called. Gramps was Hank Nicholas Rutledge. I got his middle name, and I’m okay with that.

And finally, if you could go back in time to your graduation day, what advice would you offer your younger self?
Knowing what I know today? Dear younger self, your calling isn’t what you think it is, so don’t waste your time on that. And if you’re stupid enough to move away from Weko Harbor, make sure you come back for regular visits because you will live to regret it if you don’t.

And that’s it for this post. Hope you enjoyed getting to know Nick. I know I sure did! Don’t forget, if you want to get the free Weko Harbor prequel, click here to sign up for my newsletter. And if you want to read book 1 in the series, Loser Wins the Girl, click here for purchase links. That was an affiliate link. Learn more about those here.

Posted in free books, Interviews, New Book, Newsletter, Royal Sweethearts Romance Series, Weko Harbor Series, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment