Never Say Never

I’m never going to ______ (insert anything you wish here).

When I grow up, I’m never going to eat another butter bean (and I have not). My child will never act out in public  (well…). I’m never going to stop riding my bike (ummm…). I’ll never fall out of love (oops). I’ll never get sick (uh-huh). I will never, ever, EVER suffer from writer’s block or burnout. I’ll never this, that, or the other thing. But then somehow, I do.

I will never eat slime. I mean okra.

I mean, I’ve heard about that stuff. Yeah. Maybe it’s good for you. In fact, really good for you. But when you hear words like, well, slime … and snot … applied to a substance that’s supposed to be eaten, it’s hard to get enthused over any potential health benefits. In fact, I’m so UNenthused  about it, I’ve bought – and discarded – three bags of the stuff. After a year or two in the freezer, it must go bad, right?

One friend suggested I fry it to just shy of burned. If it’s crispy enough, slime problem solved. That’s how she and her family like it. And I’ve thought about it, even as I threw each bag of okra in the trash bin.

Maybe two or three weeks ago, I joined a new Trim Healthy Mama Facebook group. This one is smaller, and I’m finding it extremely motivating. Eating keto, at this point in my life, isn’t working for me and, after much research, I’ve decided that Trim Healthy Mama is still what I need to be doing. If I want to be healthy and avoid another year like 2020.

But … I need to be on it a lot more than off. And that’s where this group is helping. I see no point in joining a support group if I’m going to lie about what I’m eating, or not eating. So, the fact that I’ll be telling the truth motivates me to stick to the plan. Which really isn’t that hard. I’ve been eating some pretty yummy meals…

One of my favorite things is a ‘Snickers Shake.’ I love it so much, I made a big batch of all the dry ingredients and bagged it up in individual servings.  Then there’s the bacon, sprouted grain toast, a strawberry/cream cheese/pecan dessert, and buns and muffins from the Smart Baking Company. I absolutely love their products. At least the sesame buns, chocolate chip muffins, and banana muffins, which are the ones I’ve tried so far. That was an affiliate link, by the way. Learn more about it here.

Back to the group though. Right now, the plan includes joining one of the weekly challenges.

The challenge? To eat veggies three times a day. And one of them should be … gulp/gag … okra.

I did buy another bag of frozen, sliced okra last week. I figure as far as paying for stuff to fill my kitchen trash bin, it’s quite reasonably priced. Because, though my intentions are always good when I buy it, it still winds up in there.

But now, because I want to be on board with the challenges, to be one of the gang, I realize I’m at least going to have to open this bag. And then I’m going to have actually throw some in my blender, make the recommended ‘shake,’ and take at least a sip of it.

I can’t begin to tell you how much I’m looking forward to this experience. Seriously. I can’t, because it would be a lie. I am so NOT looking forward to it … but I am going to give it a try. And who knows? Maybe I’ll like it.

Never say never, right?

Anyway, it’s April, and that means Camp NaNoWriMo is here again. I’m hoping to kick this writer’s block to the curb (finally!), and finish those three books that have been so close to being finished for such a long time. And so, I’m going to leave you with a favorite song that’s on tonight’s playlist…

Gotta drool over a clean-shaven Barry Gibb sometimes, right? 🙂 

Posted in Gluten-Free, Health, keto, Love, low carb, NaNoWriMo, Playlist, Trim Healthy Mama (THM) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Thoughts From My Heart, 1

For a long time now, I’ve kind of resented the fact that authors aren’t supposed to have opinions about controversial subjects. Not if we want to sell books, at any rate. At the top of the ‘no-no’ list are politics and religion. And I’m  okay with avoiding most all things political. The vitriol found on all social media sites, from both sides, is enough to send me into a depression most days, which is why I spend little time on social media now.

Besides, immersing myself in that much hatred makes it almost impossible to get any writing done. Since writing is my job, my focus needs be on happily-ever-afters. I’ve literally been writing since I was a kid. I need to write. It might not be as important to me as breathing, but it needs to be a priority again.

I do have another priority though.

While most of my posts will be the same as they’ve always been, some will be different. I promise I won’t shove religion down your throat (even I hate it when people do that to me) but sometimes, I will be sharing my thoughts on God.

For those not into ‘religion,’ I’ll give you a heads up so you can skip it. If you see “Thoughts From My Heart,” followed by a number (for each installment), you’ll know not to bother clicking on it.

So…

I shared the video (below) with a small group I’m in – after giving it some serious consideration. Why? I was afraid they might look down on me. Again, why? Because so many people think big ‘television churches’ are a bad thing. And I’ll admit, some of them probably are. But I’ve been a Christian long enough to have learned a few things:

1. I’m far from perfect, and would never expect anyone else to be. Not even the pastor of a big church.
2. Those who have a problem with the pastors of big churches don’t seem to have any problem with the fact that Jesus preached to crowds of thousands. 
3. The bible is pretty clear that we’re not to judge others. Just because a few people have had unpleasant experiences with big churches doesn’t make them bad.

I’ve had bad experiences in small town churches with no more than a handful of members. That doesn’t make all small churches bad, or even the churches where I had the unpleasant experiences bad. It just means I don’t always get what I want. I don’t stop doing business with my favorite grocery store just because the occasional employee is rude either. Maybe they were just having a bad day – like I sometimes I do.

Anyway, I base what I choose to listen to on the bible. If the sermons are scriptural – and I do check to make sure they are – then I’m okay with it. And so far, the ones I watch seem to be biblically based. Even if they miss the mark a little sometimes, I always remember Jesus telling John that anyone who wasn’t against them was for them (Mark 9:38-41).

With that said, one of my favorite preachers is Steven Furtick. I started watching his videos two or three years ago and, around late summer/early fall 2019, even started playing YouTube playlists of his sermons at night when I was sleeping.

And I honestly believe that because I did, my faith was strong enough to get through two cancer diagnoses and major emergency surgery during the first fourteen days in February 2020. It was strong enough that I wasn’t afraid at any point during the more than two week stay in the hospital. And it was strong enough that even in the face of the oncologist telling me they wouldn’t know what kind of treatment I’d need until they got the biopsy results back – but that I would need treatment – I still believed God would heal me. And He did. The cancer hadn’t spread and I didn’t need chemo or radiation. But, according to the doctor, I was supposed to need it.

As for the rest, I only needed the temporary colostomy for four months instead of six because I healed miraculously fast. And except for a scar I’ll probably always have on my nose, the skin cancer surgery went well too. The scar there, and the ones on my stomach, don’t bother me at all. As I mentioned it in another post, they mean I’m alive. And, I’m not exaggerating even a little when I say I’m very glad to still be here with everyone I love. 

Last year was filled with several miracles – and I’ve decided it’s time to stop being afraid to have an opinion about God. Not that I’ve never had an opinion – I’ve just worried about offending people. People who plaster their own opinions all over the internet and expect them to be respected. So, I’m stepping out of the boat and will be sharing some of mine. I won’t judge people, and I won’t preach at people. Not even in my books. I hope they can return the favor and not judge me. 

So, for those who just might need to hear about God, and how much He loves them, I will be sharing some things, both here and at the end of my future books. Don’t worry. If you’re not interested, I’ll always give a warning so you can pass on those posts/parts of the books. 🙂

Today, I’ll leave you with a song that brings tears to my eyes every time I hear it. I’ve loved it since the first time I heard it.

Photo credit: Pixabay

Posted in Christianity, Life, Love, Opinion, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

9 Days, 9 Books, .99 Cents Each!

Hey, everyone! I’m going to ‘blame’ this idea on the knee deep snow in my yard – and the frigid temperatures! – but as I was sitting here a couple of nights ago, I had a thought. Admitting to that would make some of the people who know me well a little nervous, but this wasn’t scary at all.

So … cutting to the chase …. for the next 9 days, you can get 9 of my digital books for .99 cents each. Plus, for those who didn’t know it, you can also get The Daddy Pact (first in the Coach’s Boys series), and A Prince on the Run (first in the Royal Sweethearts/Casteloria Royals series) FREE!

All are sweet romance, but while most are contemporary, there are a couple time-travel fantasy, and one historical. And… All of the Amazon links are affiliate links (learn about them by clicking this blue link).

Enjoy the books – and for those of you living north of comfortably warm weather, hope you’re staying warm and cozy. 🙂

The Daddy Pact (FREE!)
Apple/iTunes

Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Kobo
Smashwords

 A Prince on the Run (FREE!)
Apple/iTunes

Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Kobo
Smashwords

A Fine Mess
Apple/iTunes

Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Kobo
Smashwords

A Hero for Holly
Apple/iTunes

Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Kobo
Smashwords

 A Harry Situation
Apple/iTunes

Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Kobo
Smashwords

Reluctant Guardian
Apple/iTunes

Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Kobo
Smashwords

The Physician to the King
Apple/iTunes

Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Kobo
Smashwords

Holding Out for Love
Apple/iTunes

Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Kobo
Smashwords

The Accidental Wish
Apple/iTunes

Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Kobo
Smashwords

Erin’s Christmas Wish
Apple/iTunes

Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Kobo
Smashwords

Holding On to Yesterday
Apple/iTunes

Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Kobo
Smashwords

Posted in affiliate link(s), Book Sale, Coach's Boys Series, free books, Love, Romance, Royal Sweethearts Romance Series | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Another Valentine’s Day

You would think the fact that I write sweet romance, Valentine’s Day would be on my radar. But it’s not. At least not today – until a little voice reprimanded me. Yup. Nothing quite like being lectured by my own personal, pint-sized, walking, talking little calendar. I was a bad grandma this morning because I didn’t greet her with a, “Good morning, sweetie pie. Happy Valentine’s Day!” 

I was almost bad in a couple of more ways. After visiting with my mother, I thought – it’s late. It’s Valentine’s Day. I should just grab a pizza. Totally NOT low carb. I was really on the fence about it for a few minutes, but decided nope. I had something at home that was quick – and a whole lot lower carb than my favorite pizza.

But I was getting really hungry by that point. About half an ounce of cheese and a small bag of low carb tortilla chips wasn’t quite enough food to last several hours. If you want to find out more about those chips, click this affiliate link. If you want to learn more about affiliate links, click here. Because, of course, the blue links will almost always be affiliate links. 🙂

So…

I thought since I was passing on the pizza I really wanted, and since DQ was finally open again, and it is Valentine’s Day, I could get a snack size turtle Blizzard. But I talked myself out of that too. Instead, I ate a fairly low carb supper, followed by this sundae. I used Carb Smart vanilla ice cream, a couple tablespoons of Lily’s chocolate chips  (mixed with a couple tablespoons of cream, and two teaspoons refined coconut oil), some sort of smashed pecans, and a little pink sea salt…

Looks yummy, doesn’t it? Trust me, it was. Though next time, I’ll probably use one tablespoon of the chocolate chips and thin it down a bit more. Don’t get me wrong. I love chocolate. But unless it’s like a brownie or a slice of Texas sheet cake (both with tons of walnuts!), I tend to side with those who believe there is such a thing as too much chocolate. 

Anyway…

Being the one year anniversary of the day I was admitted to the hospital, it was a great reminder that the best way I could celebrate this Valentine’s Day is to remember that sugar and high glycemic carbs tend to feed cancer. And, since I intend to never get cancer again, it’s time to stop giving myself permission to eat foods that could harm me, in more ways than one.

And now, I think it’s time to watch one of my favorite movies – Notting Hill. I tried to watch Love and Monsters last night with Ms. Motor Mouth (who said she wanted to watch the movie on my computer, but was more interested in figuring out what she could get away with playing with in my office – which is basically nothing, l0l), I missed a lot of the movie. Now, I’m in the mood for a little Hugh Grant. I love Hugh Grant.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

I also love Kurt Browning, and this particular skating routine. No, not Brickhouse – which I do love as well. This one just seems more appropriate for mushy holidays. 🙂

Posted in #romance, Love, low carb | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Fun Writing Exercise

In order to help me establish not only a better writing routine again, but to do better at sending newsletters, I’m going to try something new. Something I hope you’ll enjoy as much as I did with this first story.

I’ve always loved playing around with plot generators because the results range from weird, to dull, to really wild. The one thing they all have in common though is that they’re almost always make me laugh. Just like the one I’ll share with you in a second.

Before I do though, I’ll share what I’m hoping to do with these generated plots and characters. I’ll share the generated one here, on my blog, and then I’ll put the story I come up with in a newsletter. When I have enough, I’ll publish them as a collection of short stories … but subscribers can read them for free.

Tonight, I’ll publish both, so you can laugh at the generated story, and then see what I did for it. That way, if you like what I come up with and aren’t already subscribed to my newsletter, you can sign up for it now by clicking on the tab above (or here).

So… Without further ado…

This is where I got tonight’s generated plot: https://www.plot-generator.org.uk/story/.

Charming Uncles Reading to the Beat (I use the site under my other, currently unused pen name, JJ Belding)

Maureen Parker had always loved quiet bus stop with its rainy, robust rivers. It was a place where she felt sad.

She was a virtuous, helpful, coffee drinker with strong hair and pretty eyes. Her friends saw her as a huge hero. Once, she had even helped a disabled person cross the road. That’s the sort of woman she was.

Maureen walked over to the window and reflected on her pretty surroundings. The wind blew like thinking squirrel.

Then she saw something in the distance, or rather someone. It was the figure of Simon Randall. Simon was an admirable sweetheart with dark hair and slender eyes.

Maureen gulped. She was not prepared for Simon.

As Maureen stepped outside and Simon came closer, she could see the roasted glint in his eye.

Simon gazed with the affection of 2575 cute fantastic fish. He said, in hushed tones, “I love you and I want a phone number.”

Maureen looked back, even more relaxed and still caressing a tattered hat. “Simon, I’m new in town,” she replied.

They looked at each other with lonely feelings, like two deafening, defeated dogs walking at a very adorable holiday, which had flute music playing in the background and two charming uncles reading to the beat.

Maureen regarded Simon’s dark hair and slender eyes. “I feel the same way!” revealed Maureen with a delighted grin.

Simon looked calm, his emotions blushing like a better, brawny book.

Then Simon came inside for a nice cup of coffee.

THE END

To be honest, I wasn’t sure I could come up with anything from that … umm … interesting story. But, after a while, I did. I should warn you that I’m not going to spend a lot of time editing these rewrites. I’ll save that for a collection, but I’ve always tried to write as close to a finished draft as possible. Hope you like what I’ve done with this story. 🙂

Since the generated title made zero sense, I’ve changed it to…

The Matchmaker

Sitting on the bench beneath a shiny green awning, Maureen Parker wondered again why more commuters didn’t wait for their buses at this stop. Located on a curve, across the road from a picturesque river not much more than a block from the busy downtown area, it was pretty and peaceful, and she loved it. Even on a chilly, drizzly autumn day.

But no one had ever joined her, until a couple of weeks ago anyway. Now, she waited, wondering if he would come again today. She’d wondered the same thing every afternoon after work though, and he always showed up, dressed in a suit and tie on the warmer, drier days. Today, she knew, he’d be wearing his trench coat to not only keep him warm, but to protect his expensive garb.

They’d never spoken, but Maureen spent a lot of time thinking about the handsome, dark-haired stranger. Was he an attorney? A banker? A businessman? Everything about him seemed to scream ‘professional,’ though for all she knew – which was nothing at all – he could sell vacuums or hair brushes.

Always tending to be a bit on the shy side, she figured she’d never know. By the time he showed up, she’d pretend to be reading one of the books on the tablet that was always tucked in her purse.

Almost as if on cue, Maureen saw him round the curve and quickly ducked her head, trying to focus on the words on the screen. From the corner of her eye, she saw him sit down on the other end of the bench, laying his briefcase beside him.

Why couldn’t she say something? Anything? Even something about the weather? Like, “Boy, it’s sure cooled off today, hasn’t it?” Instead, she sat there, not really afraid to start a conversation, just not sure how.

“Oh, for heaven’s sake!

A crash, followed by an exclamation from her left, caught Maureen’s attention, and she turned and saw an elderly woman gaping at a wire shopping cart lying on its side, the contents of a couple of grocery bags sprawled across the grass. A couple of cans were rolling down the sidewalk.

Almost as if they’d planned it, Maureen and her bus stop companion jumped to their feet and sprinted to the woman’s aid. While Maureen righted the cart and started putting the groceries back into the bags, the guy chased down the wayward cans.

“I am so clumsy sometimes,” the woman said with a chuckle. “I was watching the cardinal couple in that tree-” she pointed across the street where the bright red male and his less ostentatious ‘wife’ sat on a branch, “and the wheel hit the edge of the grass.” She grinned from Maureen to the man.

“It happens to all of us sometimes,” he told her, reaching out a hand and adding, “I’m Simon Randall. It’s a pleasure to meet you.” Maureen felt her insides warm at his amused yet gentle tone.

“Trudy Curtis. Thank you so much.” When she withdrew her hand from Simon’s, she offered it to Maureen, who clasped it and introduced herself. “Thank you too.”

“You’re welcome. Are you all right?”

“I’m just fine. Feeling a little foolish, but cardinals always distract me.” Trudy’s eyes seemed a little sad as she gazed at the branch where the birds were still perched. “They remind me of my husband. He’s been gone almost eleven years, but they were our ‘thing.’” She smiled at Maureen and Simon again. “Every Christmas, we’d buy a new cardinal ornaments, but we especially liked finding the couples. So, when I see them, I think of him.”

“I’m so sorry,” Maureen murmured, not sure what else to say.

“Don’t be. We had forty-two years together. It’s been hard, and I’ll always miss him. We met at this very bus stop, you know. It was just an old green wooden bench back then, and there was no awning to keep you dry on a rainy day like there is now. But he walked up one day, and sat down. And then – our eyes met, and we knew in that moment that we’d spend our lives together.”

“Sounds like a match made in heaven,” Simon said, sounding sincere, which surprised Maureen. A lot of guys would find a story like that corny.

“It was. But look at me bending your ears all day. The bus will be along soon, and I need to get this food home and put away.”

“Do you have far to go?” Simon asked. Trudy shook her head and pointed just down the road and across the street, to the last house on that side.

“Just over there. When my Robert found it was for sale, just before our wedding, we knew we had to buy it. And I’ve lived there ever since, with him by my side most of the time. I always thought it was so romantic, to be able to look out my kitchen window at the place where we first met. I’ll be sorry to let it go.”

“You’re moving?” Maureen asked, for some reason, sad at the thought.

“Yes. Probably before summer arrives again. Our son was transferred to Missouri a couple of years ago. He wants me to move in with him and his family. So, this old place will be on the market again before too much longer. I hope the next couple who buys it will be as happy there as we were.”

“I’m sure they will be. It’s a beautiful house, and it’s in a nice neighborhood.” As Simon spoke the words, Maureen realized it was true. Riverfront property, close to the business district, was prime real estate in this town.

“Well, I should be going,” Trudy told them again. “I think I hear your bus coming. You’re such a sweet couple for helping me.” Before either one could protest that they didn’t even know each other, Maureen could have sworn she winked at them, then headed across the street.

“I think she’s right about the bus,” Simon said, his voice low as their ride came around the curve. Since they weren’t at the designated stop, the driver sailed right past them.

Not that she cared because, staring into his kind brown eyes, she understood what Trudy meant about knowing. And from the surprised look on Simon’s face, she knew he understood it too.

As if drawn by a magnet, they glanced at the house across the street. Trudy stood on her porch, a smug smile on her face. After a moment, she stepped inside and closed the door behind her. Maureen turned to look at Simon again and he smiled at her.

“It’s nice to meet you, Maureen.”

“It’s nice to meet you too,” she said, feeling her cheeks color as she smiled back.

“Since we’ve missed our bus, and the next one won’t arrive for an hour, could I buy you a cup of coffee?”

“I’d like that.”

Photo credit: Pixabay

Posted in #romance, Short Stories | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tonight’s Playlist

I’m pretty sure this duo is one of my daughter’s favorites. Some part of me remembers her mentioning them, but too often – with me anyway – things can go in one ear and out of the other … with no pitstop in between. And I often have to apologize. Writing or not, there are always a few stories playing out in my head, so I don’t always pay attention like I should.

But tonight, Dance With Me popped up in my YouTube suggestion – and it got my attention. I thought it was a cover of the Orleans song I’ve always loved. Except it wasn’t. Not that it mattered, because it wasn’t long before the video sucked me in.

And then I was watching more of their videos, including the last one. The first three definitely put me in the mood to do some writing. Well, technically, editing is what’s on the schedule tonight. And since editing isn’t my favorite part of writing, the romantic music helped ‘put me in the mood.’

Just a heads up. While the last one is sung by the same couple, and it’s one of my favorite songs ever, it has nothing to do with romance. It’s a worship song I fell in love with the first time I heard it. The words are so beautiful, it brings me to tears every time I listen to it, though this is the first time I’ve heard it by Caleb & Kelsey.

As I listened to them sing it, I realized it’s actually quite appropriate. The main ‘star’ of the new series is a young, handsome, displaced preacher, and the other main characters were in the same youth group when they were teenagers. Now grown up, they’re trying to navigate life and love. And don’t worry, while there will be references God, romance is the focus. I won’t be preaching to you, or at you. 🙂

I do have a couple of Christian romance novels, if you enjoy them – A Fine Mess and Enza. Those are both affiliate links. You can learn more about them here.

Posted in Christianity, Playlist, Romance | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Reflections, Updates, & Other Stuff

I like to repurpose barely used planners – because I suck at using planners (but am getting better at it!). I can use them for outlines, or whatever I want. So… I was going through some the other night … and opened the page in one to February 2020. Every day had something written on it, from my daughter’s work schedule, to appointments, to promos for The Daddy Pact and A Prince on the Run. Those are affiliate links, by the way. Learn more about them here.

But my gaze was drawn first to the fourth, then to the fourteenth, and finally, to the eighteenth. The fourth was the day I learned about the skin cancer. Valentine’s Day was when I was admitted to the hospital, where I spent the next fifteen days. And the eighteenth was when I had emergency surgery for colon cancer.

A month of anniversaries. And as I gazed at everything I’d had planned for that month, then thought about how those plans had been thrown out the window, I felt a little … I don’t know. Maybe melancholy?

It feels like so much longer ago than a year. It also reminds me of a few things. That even in a perfect world, life is too short. That improving health should be huge priority. And that you just never know what might happen, so make the most of every day. Spend time with the people you love, and doing what’s important to you. Because sometimes, you don’t get a second chance. Thank God, I did.

One thing really hit home today – again. I was watching a YouTube video by Keto Rewind. I like her channel because she’s always so upbeat and has great tips that motivate me to keep the sugar and carbs out of my diet – which will be a key in helping to prevent a recurrence of the cancer. For those who don’t know it, glucose (sugar and high glycemic carbs) feed a number of different cancers, and colon cancer is one of them.

I also feel better when I’m eating low carb. More energy, more motivation. But because of Oreo, another heartbreaking event, and just everything that’s going on in the world today, I spent much of January eating things I shouldn’t. Not very smart, I know, but I did. Already dealing with stress and sadness over everything that happened, the sugars and carbs pretty much wiped me out. And last month’s plans? Let’s just say that while I made progress, it wasn’t as much as I’d have liked. It’s hard to accomplish much when you’re dragging because the wrong foods deplete your energy.

But thanks to the Keto Rewind and blog, I’m back on track. Just a few days eating low carb again and I’m feeling better – and sleeping better.

Just quickly, a couple of things that really help me stay on track with keto/low carb: Lily’s semi-sweet chocolate chips (another affiliate link). Most of the other varieties of Lily’s contain chicory root, which gives me the mother of all stomachaches. But the semi-sweet? I doubt anyone could tell the difference between those and the ‘regular’ ones.

The second thing is a mug’ brownie recipe I found a few months ago. Most seem to use almond flour, and I just have never really an almond flour dessert I liked. Not as much as this one, which uses coconut flour instead. And when I melt the Lily’s chocolate chips with the butter and cream, then use my stick blender to mix the rest into it? Oh my word! It’s fabulous. I’ve also made a keto German chocolate frosting (pecan/coconut) for it a couple of times. SO good!

Ignore how yucky the bowl looks please. You mix and nuke it in the same container. In my opinion, it makes two servings, not one, so I do it in a cereal bowl and save half for another meal. But just look at how great the brownie itself looks! Does it taste and feel 100% like a ‘real’ brownie? Nope. But it’s super good, low carb, and sugar free!

But enough about that…

The updates? The Weko prequel is nearly finished. The newsletter signup on the new newsletter site? Still trying to figure that out. It shouldn’t be much longer though.

The other stuff? My granddaughter is a HUGE fan of Tiny Tim Adventures on YouTube. Especially one where he puts on a hard to remove facial mask. She giggles up a storm over that one (and NEVER gets tired of watching it – unlike me). But the one we watched last night? I literally laughed until my sides ached and I had tears in my eyes. So I thought I’d share it here. And then I’m going to watch it again. For the third time. 🙂

Posted in Books, Health, Just for fun, keto | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

So Far, So Good

Continuing with the elephant eating theme (see this post for explanation), I have written down my plans for the remainder of the first quarter of 2021. After feeling so bad for the five years I decided I could self-treat my hypothyroidism, and then everything that happened last year (The Unluckiest Girl on the Planet?), I’ve set what I feel are seven reasonable goals.

Rocky didn’t make it to the top of the stairs the first time he tried. And while I have some pretty lofty goals when it comes to my writing, I first need to firmly reestablish my writing routine. And I think I’m going to give myself through the end of March to set that sucker in stone.

The very non-specific list I’ve pinned to the corkboard that’s right in my face when I’m sitting at my desk covers a lot of ground…

Very professional, isn’t it? 🙂

It also keeps me focused on how much time I really have in a day. I can’t write for half the day, then hope to have time to do editing, outlining for future books, character creation, and dealing with social media. Not if I want a life outside the office anyway. So, working from this, I’ll figure out my schedule for the last three quarters of 2021. And as you can see from the sixth item on the list, I intend to be working a lot more than the four hours I’ve allotted myself right now, so the Pomodoro Technique is going to be more important than ever.

That’s not just to get me moving, but because it wakes me up and helps me to focus. Plus, I agree with the experts who think that moving for five minutes every half hour (for most waking hours) is actually healthier than walking for an hour every day. But like everything else on the goal list, I’m going to work up to the twice an hour thing. I am, after all, the genius who thought she cracked a rib after working out so hard in the pool – because it didn’t feel like working out. Nope. It felt like fun. And so, I pulled some muscles. Badly.

Anyway, I’m so enthused about getting back into it, I might even start up my Five for Fitness Facebook group again, if anyone is interested in joining me. 

I’m also enthused about the new series. I’ve already finished the first drafts – mostly – for two books. However, having deleted some scenes in each one, and changing the timing, the second one needs some changing so I can release it as a Christmas in July story (but it will still be set in the winter)

I’ve also finished the prequel. I need to go over it one more time … and then I’ll be giving it away for free to newsletter subscribers. I just need to finish setting up the new newsletter, and then I’ll have a link for it here on my website.

And…

I’m training a personal assistant, and she will be setting up a Pinterest page for the series for me. Once that’s done, I’ll share the link here so you can all check it out, and meet the stars of each story. 

But… I’ve rambled long enough. It’s time to get some more work done tonight. Hope you’re as excited about the new leaf I’m turning over in 2021 as I am. If things go as planned, I should have eight new books out by the end of the year! 

And speaking of books, did you know that most of them are finally available in paperbacks? And seven of the Coach’s Boys series are available as audio books? At least I think it’s seven.  By the way, the link above ^^^ is an affiliate link. Learn more about that by clicking here.

Now I’ll leave you with what I adopted as my theme song the first time I heard it. If you’ve read many of my posts, you’ve heard it before. 🙂

Posted in Love | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

2021 – Straighten Up!

I have to say that thus far, 2021 hasn’t gone quite as planned, anymore than 2020 did…

First, Oreo died on January 2nd, followed by a heartbreaking tragedy a few days later. While it didn’t affect me too much, it did affect people I care about. Then, my van wound up in the shop for a week because yet another mechanic tightened lug nuts too much – and the wheel snapped off. Most people don’t experience that once, much less twice. I would say, ‘lucky me,’ but it would be with much sarcasm. 🙂

Sigh.

Anyway…

I’m calling a do-over. Everyone should be entitled to one from time to time. At least in my opinion. So, for me, today is the first day of this year. That gives me 343 days to eat my elephant. If you didn’t click on the link above (about Oreo), and you’re wondering what my elephant is, you’ll find out in that post.

Part of the elephant includes making more me time. That means recharging by watching more movies and reading more books. For pleasure – and my pleasure includes action/adventure, sci-fi, and fantasy, as well as romance. I’ll be sharing some of those here with you.  At least those I feel are good enough to share with others. Those I didn’t care for, well… I like to live by the ‘if you can’t say anything nice, shut up, Kristy’ rule. Most of the time anyway.

The movie this week, The Secret: Dare to Dream, really resonated with me. I am a firm believer in Bray Johnson’s (Sweet Home Alabama’s handsome Josh Lucas) philosophy. Basically, that is, your thoughts direct your life. That’s my  paraphrase, and something I believe in. Wholeheartedly.

Why? Because if, as a writer, I can manipulate my emotions for writing certain kinds of scenes – and I do – then I can do the same for life. Sometimes, it isn’t easy. But, for the most part, what I choose to focus on plays a huge part in how I live my life. And 95% of the time, I’ll focus on positives.

Now, back to the movie.

It probably didn’t win any awards, and it wasn’t super exciting, but I don’t care. It was a good, sweet romance, with a cool mystery thrown in. A mystery that surprised me. Early on, I thought I had figured it out. I was wrong though. 

Also, I don’t care that it wasn’t super exciting, because I loved Bray. He is exactly the kind of man many women (myself included!) would love to have in their lives. Strong, sweet, supportive, swoon-worthy. 

You can watch him – I mean, you can watch The Secret: Dare to Dream free on Amazon, if you have a Prime subscription. And if you do, I don’t think you’ll be sorry. (That was an affiliate link, by the way. You can learn more about that here.)

Photo credit: Pixabay

 

 

Posted in #romance, affiliate link(s), Love, Movie review, Romance | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Eat the Elephant 2021

I really like the idea of starting a new year with a word instead of resolutions. Applied to me, resolution = failure, so I don’t make them anymore. And haven’t for a few years now. I’ve tried goal setting instead. More failure. But this year, I did find something that helps.

For whatever reason, making a ‘got it done’ list works so much better for me than a ‘to-do’ list (aka: daily/weekly/yearly goals). It’s not like I don’t know what needs to be done, right? But for some reason, accomplishments completed seem to motivate me more than facing each day with a laundry list of things I need to do.

Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I’ve always been a little rebellious. Or maybe a lot rebellious. It could also be the fact that I always like the way I feel when I’m looking at something that’s finished. Or progressing.

Anyway… Back to the word.

As I was lying in bed this morning, thinking – I know I haven’t even slept six hours … but there’s real snow on the ground that I need to be looking at! … something else kept going through my mind. ‘Eat the Elephant 2021.’

So, I guess I’m not going to have a word this year. I’m going to have a motto. 

After I got a quick photo of this…

I determined exactly what ‘2021 the elephant’ was going to be.

Yeah, I’ve blurred everything out – except my newly adopted motto. Sharing everything that makes up this year’s elephant is too much like sharing a goal list. And while – technically – these are my goals, I prefer to think of them more as a guide. Kind of like going on a vacation. I know my starting point, and I know the destination. But what happens along the way … nothing is set in stone.

On day two of 2021, I’m looking at a pretty big elephant. But I don’t have to eat it all today. Or tomorrow. Or by the end of this month. I’ve got an entire year get through it. Looking at the big picture, it seems kind of daunting…

But one little bite at a time, from a not-too-specific list? Totally doable!

~~~~~

Before I could get this posted, the last of the Feline Breakfast Club was reunited with the rest – and Jack and Shadow. Bye, Oreo. :'(

Posted in Holidays, Life, Pets | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments