Psst! Don’t Faint But….

it’s finally finished!!!

And, it’s not only finished, it’s PUBLISHED!

Nope, I’m not kidding. Loser Wins the Girl is now available at Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Google Play, Amazon (affiliate link, learn more about those by clicking here), and Smashwords. It should be on iTunes soon.

Check it out! And I hope you enjoy it! 🙂

Wesley Cooper thinks happily-ever-afters are a crock and has, in fact, spent his life avoiding women who might expect one.
Except for a handful of childhood friends, Wesley has never wanted to get close to anyone. Not since he was eight years old anyway. And when he’s forced into a situation where he has to start dating-but-not-dating an old acquaintance, he is far from happy. She’s not his type. It is curious though, how many things they have in common. And that he actually enjoys spending time with her. But not in a boyfriend/girlfriend kind of way. Nope. They’re just friends.

Lainey Lawson has always believed in fairytale endings, she’s just not sure Mr. Right exists. At least not for women like her.
Most days, Lainey feels like a confident, successful woman. She’s got a great job, a healthy bank account, and has visited places others can only dream about. Sometimes though, hidden in a lonely place in her heart, she longs for someone to share her life. Part of her wishes that man could be her matchmaking cousin’s future brother-in-law. Another part knows he would never look twice at her.

Welcome to Weko Harbor, a place where the friends you made when you were a kid are friends for a lifetime. And sometimes, they might be more than just a friend.

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Just popping on here to say … to those who celebrate Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday of November, I hope you all had a great holiday! To those who don’t, I hope you had a great Thursday!

In a minute, I’ve got a question for you, but right now, I want to share this clip from the classic WKRP in Cincinnati. I’m sure I’ve included in other blog posts, but I want to do it again, just because it always makes me smile.

And because I agree with whoever said that this is one of the finest examples of painting a picture in your mind. You literally don’t ‘see’ what’s happening in this episode, but it was written and played out so perfectly, that you can see everything that happens in your mind. This is what all authors strive to do with their stories – to write them so vividly that everything happening on each page seems as real as you are.

Now for the question…

There are a lot of social media memes asking which holiday food would you remove from whatever list the creator of the post came up with. For me, that’s an easy choice. Maybe it’s because I’m not a lover of mushroom soup and those crunchy onions. Or just the combination of everything. Whatever the reason, one bite of that stuff is as likely as not to make me sick to my stomach. Even looking at the photo below is pushing it. 🙂

What about you? Is there a food most people love for Thanksgiving that could send you to your knees in front of the nearest commode? Let me know in the comments below.

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Getting Ready for the New Series!

One of the perks of being a ‘Michigander’ is that you basically live in a mitten. At least the trolls do. ‘Trolls’ are what the folks in our Upper Peninsula (aka, the U.P.) call anyone residing south of the Mackinac Bridge. Because, of course, trolls live under bridges…

Another perk is that when there is no map handy, we can just use our hands. No, they’re not the greatest substitutes, but in a pinch, they get the job. Yes, that’s the outline of my hand. And, for the record, when using your hand as the Michigan map, you have to kind of twist and bend your thumb to get it to sort of look like that part of the mitten, which is why my thumb looks short and fat.

Now, let’s talk Mackinac. Or Mackinaw?

Looking at the ‘map,’ you’ll find Mackinaw City, but we also have the Mackinac Bridge, Mackinac Island, the Straits of Mackinac, and Fort Michilimackinac all in northern lower Michigan. Except for the island. That’s in the middle of Lake Huron.

Northern lower Michigan is where you’ll encounter your first trolls, if you started out in the U.P. If you started out somewhere in the south, it’s where you’ll encounter the last trolls before crossing the bridge and meeting the Yoopers.

Yoopers?!

Ya. Not Da Yoopers (of the Second Week of Deer Camp and Rusty Chevrolet fame), but the Yoopers who live and work in the U.P. The ones who dubbed the mitten dwellers trolls.

Anyway… Back to the Mackinac/Mackinaw conundrum.

From what I’ve gathered, everything up there started off as Michilimackinac, thanks to the Anishinabek – or Anishnawbeck, depending on who you ask – Nation. Early Michiganders shortened it to Mackinac, but somewhere along the line, the city came to be called Mackinaw.

If you want to learn more about that, there’s a short, cute video on Facebook titled ‘How Do You Pronounce It? Mackinac or Mackinaw.

Or, to save you time, just pretend all of the names end in ‘aw’ instead of ‘ac.’

Now, for a little more information and interesting tidbits:

*U.S. 31 weaves its way from a few miles south of Mackinaw City all the way down to Holland, Michigan. This series takes place along a seventeen mile stretch of that highway, between Petoskey and Charlevoix.

*Weko Harbor, the main town in which my new series takes place, and Tulley Falls are fictional cities – to everyone but me. To me, they’re as real as any other cities in the United States, as are the people who live in that world. Hopefully, you’ll come to feel the same way as you meet and grow to love the stars of these books. (a quick oops – I forgot to add Tulley Falls to the map – it’s between Weko Harbor and Petoskey)

*Petoskey is pronounced puh-tos-key

*Charlevoix is pronounced shar-la-voy

*Cheboygan is pronounced sha-boy-gun (the ‘a’ sounds like ‘uh’). I added this one for those who have read the Royal Sweethearts series and wondered how to say it. And speaking of, Quinn’s book should be available in most online bookstores in January!

*Battle Creek is the home of Kellogg’s Cereals, Tony the Tiger, and Frosted Flakes, which are, according to Tony, Grrreeeeaaat!

*Except for Reluctant Guardian and the Royal Sweetheart series, I’ve never felt the need to leave Michigan – when it comes to my stories. We have it all – huge lakes that seem very ocean-like from our beautiful, sandy beaches. We have islands, a few mountains, waterfalls, sand dunes, forests, and even tropical (SO humid!) weather in the summer. You can snow ski, water ski, sail, scuba dive, and surf here. Yes, people can and do surf on our Great Lakes. Check that out by clicking here.

*Hell actually does freeze over in Michigan. It’s located between Lansing and Detroit. It’s also only an hour from Maybee. Hey! Do you want to make a quick trip to Hell? Maybee… Sorry. I couldn’t resist.

When my kids were in grade school, I always thought it would be fun to travel around the state, so when they went back to class at the end of summer, they could say they’d visited Brooklyn, Holland, Bangor, Washington, Newark, Billings, Frankfort, Sandusky, Christmas, and Paradise … which are all cities in the great state in which I live.

And this concludes today’s lesson on Michigan. 🙂

***Just so you know, I will probably be putting this in the front matter of all Weko Harbor books. Some people start in the middle of the series, or don’t ever see my website, and some of this information could come in handy. So, if you see it in each book, that’s why. 

 

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Time For a Happy Dance!

I’m almost finished with the first book in the new series! Close enough that it’s possible it will be out around Thanksgiving. And there are no words to express how thrilled I am to tell you!

Just taking a quick break to share this, and the view I’m looking at as I edit tonight. 

The little bit of the video that’s playing – with snow actually falling – is SO much better without the editing windows. So beautiful, in fact, that sometimes, I’ll just sit and watch it for a while. It’s so peaceful and relaxing. You can check it out for yourself…

And before I get back to business, this is my playlist for tonight. Not sure why, but no matter how much I LOVE the kind of music you can sing along to, I’m always more productive when I listen to things like this. Ten hours might seem like a long time, but it’s kind of more like white noise after a little while.

Okay, break’s over. One last thing. If you’re in the mood for some budget holiday reading, check this out. Ninety-nine cents for three of my Christmas stories. Well, one takes place just after Christmas, but I included it in this nifty little bundle. Click here to get it on Amazon (affiliate link, learn more about those here), or do a quick Google search to find it on Apple Books, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo. Sometimes, it takes a few days for the price to drop, so if it’s still $3.99, check again in a day or so.

Oh yeah. Stay tuned for the cover reveal – coming soon! 🙂

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Sprained Knees, Recipes, & More of These

Sprained knees?

Yup. In early October, I did a couple of stupid things and … boom! A sprained knee. Long story short on that, I continued to do some not very bright things – like not using crutches (since the knee already hurt, why add to it by making my shoulders hurt too?), walking (limping) too much, too soon. And just generally doing what needed to be done. Because we all know that when doctors tell a woman to take it easy for a week or two, they’re just joking. 😀 

Recipes?

Well, one recipe. Frizzled cabbage. And no one is more surprised than me that I’m sharing it. Except for an occasional serving of cole slaw, I am NOT a big cabbage lover. But this stuff is fabulous! So much so that I bought a five pound bag of shredded cabbage – and it’s in my freezer. 

This is one of those recipes our grandmothers probably loved. A little of this, a little of that, and cook until done…

Melt enough refined coconut oil to barely cover the bottom of your frying pan. Add a heaping pile of cabbage. It can be green, it can be purple, or a combination.

Add a little sea salt and, on the lower side of medium heat, cook until cabbage has shriveled quite a bit. Then, add a tablespoon or two of butter (depends on your taste, and how much cabbage is in the pan) and turn heat a little lower

 Stir often, until cabbage is even more wilted and starts to brown a bit on the edges.

Season with whatever sounds good and enjoy! I use pink sea salt, a little cayenne pepper, and a little garlic. It is SO good!

It looks a little ucky with purple cabbage – but looks can be deceiving! It’s delicious!

More of these?

Progress! Finally! I have finished the prequel and first book in the new series, and the fourth book in the Royal Sweethearts series. And I’m trying like mad to finish the second book in the new series … and write the third during the 2021 National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). The Royal Sweethearts link is an Affiliate link. Learn more about those by clicking here. If you haven’t read Cam (A Prince on the Run), Nolan (The Physician to the King), and Fin’s (The Princess and the Bodyguard) books, you really should. Because I think fans of the series are really going to like Quinn’s story. 🙂

Finally, I’ll share a couple of songs from today’s playlist. Not that I listen to them while writing. Nope. Only to get in the mood to write.

By the way, a friend let me know last night that I had a setting wrong on Instagram, so my posts weren’t being seen by anyone who wasn’t specifically looking for me or my books. I’ve made the necessary changes – I hope – and am posting there again. If you’re not already following me, click here and check it out. 🙂

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I LOVE Surprises!

I’ll say right up front that what consider a surprise and what you consider a surprise will probably differ. By a lot.

The first surprise was tied into waiting. Of course, most things are, right? As humans, we spend huge amounts of our time waiting for people, appointments, trains and traffic lights, in line at any store, on the phone with customer service and tech support, for deliveries – and even to fall asleep (if you’re anything like me).

Knowing that, I try to bring a small notebook and pen with me wherever I go, just in case inspiration – for anything – strikes. And a couple of days ago, it struck! And it still makes me smile every time I think about it.

I didn’t have a clue what I’d wind up putting down as I sat there with the notebook in one hand, the pen poised over it in the other. But I did know I needed to start getting to know the characters in book three of the new series.

Book three? Yup. I’m down to about forty pages of editing before the first book is finished. Book two is maybe seventy pages away from ‘the end.’ That means NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) is looming in thirty days! And I really, really am hoping to get the first draft of book three written then. I’ve even got a loose outline – from the opening scene to the last one. But I knew I needed to know more about the hero and heroine.

Suddenly, having never given the childhood of either one much thought, I knew what motivated both of them. I knew when those events happened. I knew the details. And in the half hour I spent waiting, I wrote like a madwoman. The results of that surprise are going to make November a lot easier.

Second surprise? I was at the store today – when I stumbled on a fantastic sale. For some reason, I keep forgetting to add folders to my shopping list. All I need are the ones with the fold out metal prong things. And today, on one of the endcaps was a display of – folders! On clearance!

Jackpot! Just what I need – and at a third the price. Yes! And these weren’t just the cheap poster paper-ish kinds of folders either. These are made of some sort of plastic so they’re washable. I can slap labels on them with the titles of the books … and when the books are finished, I can peel the labels right back off again and start over with something new!

Now, I have a place to put all of the character sheets! And yes, I’ve blocked out all the pertinent information I have so far. I think writers guard their writing ‘babies’ in much the way they guard their human offspring. At least I know I do. 🙂

Here are some of the songs on tonight’s playlist – and then I’ve got to get to work! And by the way, until the new series is available, if you haven’t read all of my books yet, you can find them by clicking here – or here (the second ‘here’ is an affiliate link – learn more about them by clicking here). In case you didn’t know … a couple of those books are FREE! 

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

Happy Taste Buds, My View, & an Update or Few

If you’ve been around a while, you know I tend to like eating low carb – specifically, the Trim Healthy Mama diet (affiliate link alert – learn more about those here). A week or so ago, someone shared a link for a a low carb/keto version of Zuppa Toscana soup. It looked delicious, and this afternoon, I finally made a pot of it. A small pot because I’ve learned that while some foods look amazing, they don’t always taste amazing. So now, I tend to make half a recipe. This time, I’m kind of sorry I did. Have a look…

Paired with a small slice of sourdough bread (and a little bit more soup when I was finished), I couldn’t be happier with this meal.

Well, technically, I could. I don’t care for Italian sausage, so I used smoked turkey sausage – and it was seriously delicious! However … as a long time chicken lover, when I make a full pot in a few days, I might try that instead. Since I’m making really good progress with the editing, I want to have a stash of heat and eat meals in the freezer so I don’t have to worry about cooking something for just me. And I don’t want to eat off plan either.

This stuff is so good!

But speaking of editing, I’ll share my view and playlist with you. The playlist that I put on along with beach sounds. It helps put me in the beachy, tourist town mood. And since the new series is set in a beachy touristy town … well… It works for me.

Oops! I forgot to put my glasses on. Okay, I blurred a lot of stuff out. I don’t want to get into any copyright trouble, so my view is much clearer than this. But I do keep a file with photos to represent my characters on the left, and something to represent the area in which my characters live on the right. For the Royals series, it’s something else entirely. (This is also an affiliate link – and don’t forget, the first book in the series is free!). The actual manuscript … unfortunately, I’m not making any part of that public until the book is published.

Published??? When???

I flatly refuse to set at date at this point, though it’s looking like MID-TO LATE OCTOBER!!!!

AND…

The prequel is finished!!! I’m not kidding! It’s going to be free too – but only to newsletter subscribers. Not quite yet, but within a couple of weeks, current subscribers will get a link to download it, and new subscribers should get it right after they sign up. So if you want to meet (and get to know) some of the stars of the new series, keep checking back for updates.

And now, my playlist. I’d never heard of ‘yacht rock’ until last year, but after doing some research – and listening to a lot of songs, I made my own yacht rock writing playlist. I have to keep the volume way down when I’m not listening to Canon in D and River Flows in You, but sometimes, I just need something to help get me in a romantic mood to write. Here are just a few of my favorites. And yes, I AM a James Taylor fan. 🙂

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3 AWOL Reasons, Newsletter News, & the Prequel is Done!

Sigh…

I was doing so much better at getting regular blog posts up for a few months, and then… Well, here come the excuses. I could milk it for more, but am limiting it to three.

  1. A couple of sad anniversaries that almost always put me in a funk.
  2. A funk that had me leaping like an Olympic hurdler off the low carb wagon.
  3. A sugar and carb generated fugue that settled over me like a comforting blanket, making anything that resembled work look like … well … too much work to be bothered with. Especially blogging, writing, and editing.

Like I said, I could toss in a few more – like a new kitten that bounces off the walls and hangs from the chandeliers. Okay, so I don’t have any chandeliers – but if I did, Loki would find a way.

And I won’t mention the five now full grown chickens that wake me up way too early because they sound like a huge flock geese heading south for the winter (Every. Single. Morning.), but I won’t.

And they’re not necessary anymore anyway. Common sense finally kicked in and, after dragging my exhausted, energy-less behind back upon the wagon, I’m starting to feel less like a sloth and more like a human again.

And … I’ve finally finished editing the Weko Harbor prequel! In case you didn’t know, the prequel will be free to all of my newsletter subscribers – past and future. At least past subscribers who actually open my newsletters will be able to get the link. Newsletters I’m aiming to send out every 3-4 weeks … hopefully, starting soon. The story still has to go to beta readers, and I will need to fix any problems they find, but then … it’s going to go out to all of you!

One of my favorite ‘songs’ – and a bit of reward when I feel like I need one.

A word about the newsletters though…

I’ve only ever used the a newsletter tracking feature to figure out who only signed up for a freebie. And believe me, while I love being able to give away things like the prequel away, sending newsletters can get a bit pricey. That means having the ability to remove the people who don’t really want to be on it can save me money. 

Starting today though, laws regarding email tracking (or rules, I’m not really clear on that) have changed. Now, there will be no way to know who really wants the newsletters and who does not. So, authors need to depend on those who don’t want to be there to remove themselves. Therefore…

One day in the not too distant future, I will – for a period of about a month – try to remember to send one email a week. Believe me, it is not something I look forward to doing. So, for those of you who DO want my newsletters, please be patient and know that this won’t continue for long. Those who do not want to be there should unsubscribe in droves, and then I’ll drop back to what I hope is roughly a once a month average.

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96 Pages

I am a world class procrastinator. About a lot of things, actually. But when it comes to writing, character profiles will always land near the top of the list. They’re actually the hardest part of writing a book.

Why? Because if I don’t love my characters, if I don’t know my characters well enough … their books are going to be agonizingly hard to write. There’s also the fact that if I screw up this oh-so-crucial step, you won’t love my characters. And you won’t love their stories either.

I have just hated every second of creating characters for the past few years though. I’ve never understood why. One of the best parts of writing is breathing life into these people who live on my pages. So what happened? Well… Yesterday, I had an epiphany.

No matter how great computers are for writing, my brain needs to slow down, to have some more relaxed time to really think about my characters. What they’re like, their favorite things, their families, their childhoods, and on and on and on.

That same process is also very helpful in the early stages figuring out the outlines and timelines. And since I’m working on the new series, and adding to the Royal Sweethearts series (affiliate link, click here for more info), I need to make my brain happy by picking up my purple gel pen and going back to what I love to do. Write it out.

Yes, it’s slower than typing, but it works. And doing something that works is better than avoiding doing it at all, right? Especially when we’re talking more than a dozen books. So, while I finish editing three projects, I’m currently working on, I’ll also be spending the next couple of weeks figuring out who’s who, and doing some basic plots. 

96 pages? Yup. Thanks to some much needed inspiration and cool new templates from Abbie Emmons, I’m ready to get started now. Check it out.  🙂

And I’m TOTALLY excited about it!!!

Oh. A Couple more things.

First, before I forget – the pathology report came back all clear. I don’t have to have another test for three years. Yay!!!

And second, one of the projects I’m editing is the prequel to the Weko Harbor series. I’m planning on it being available the end of August or early September. And … the only way to get it is to sign up for my newsletter – because it will be free to subscribers. 

Time to get busy. I’ll leave you with one of my favorite songs, one that’s always on a playlist for when I want to be super productive. 

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513 Days Later….

Five-hundred and thirteen days? Yup. That’s how long it’s been since my life changed with a cancer diagnosis. I’m not going to beat a dead horse and go through all of it again. If you want to find out more about that, you can read more about it here: The Unluckiest Girl on the Planet?

This post is going to cover two other subjects, though they both have something to do with what happened last year.

First, last month, I had a test scheduled to make sure the cancer was still gone, and if not, that it was taken care of pronto. But the prep the nurse suggested – a pretty expensive one too – didn’t work as well as it should have, so I spent a few weeks stressing over it for nothing.

Fast forward another stress filled few weeks to today (technically, it’s still today on the west coast). This one included a two-day prep, with sixty hours of a clear liquid diet. It still didn’t work like it should have, though I drank over four-hundred ounces of fluid over that two days. Apparently, when you’ve had part of your colon removed, even a small part, even that part of life changes.

Long story short, everything went fine. The doctor dealt with the issue, removed a few polyps, and said even though they would be checked, he didn’t think I had anything to worry about. Even better, I shouldn’t need to come back for three years. Yay!

Of course, me being me, I kind of focused on the fact that there were no polyps (that I was aware of) during my colostomy reversal thirteen months ago. Now there were three or four? Of course, you know I Googled it, and found that more than two polyps is cause for concern, not panic. And I’m not panicked, just … concerned. And motivated.

Motivated?

Yes. I’ve been ‘playing’ with a low carb diet long enough. It’s time to get serious about it. I know that sugar (of all kinds) and refined foods help many cancers grow, and even thrive, and it’s time to stop messing around with my health. I’ve chosen the Trim Healthy Mama diet as one that will work with me. That’s an affiliate link. Learn more about what that means by clicking here.

I know where I’ve failed, why I keep falling off the low carb wagon, and I’m determined to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

It all boils down to being prepared. Over the next few days, I’m going to be making and freezing individual servings of meals, snacks, and desserts. Things I can grab and defrost or heat up fast when life happens and I need something in a hurry. Something that tastes good and makes it easy to say no to fast food joints and grocery store donuts and snacks.

I’m also making up triple and quadruple batches of other things, like seasonings and protein shake mixes – because all of those help too. The seasonings can transform a ground beef patty or a couple of chicken tenders from a blah kind of thing to something different and delicious that, when eaten with a salad or a veggie, makes me happy and leaves me satisfied.

This is what I did tonight. Not a lot because, thanks to very little sleep since Tuesday morning, I have very little energy. While the two-day prep wasn’t horrid, I only got about six hours sleep between Tuesday and Thursday afternoon. But now, I’ve got enough taco and Hubby Lovin’ Seasoning to last a while!

Okay. Enough of that. It’s time to get serious.

If talking about your colon, or the idea of having a colonoscopy makes you squeamish, uncomfortable, or embarrasses you, stop it. Just stop. You need to get over it. This is your body and your life. I discovered the hard way – but nowhere near as hard as others have – that life is fragile, and by no means guaranteed. Pay attention to your bowel habits, and to your poop. Yeah, I said poop.

If something doesn’t feel or look right, get to a doctor and get it checked! 

I still don’t know if my cancer caused the blockage, or if the blockage just happened, allowing the cancer to be found. No one ever said, or if they did, I was too drugged up in the days following the surgery to remember. I’m just so grateful to God that things went down the way they did because if they hadn’t, I don’t know how long I’d have continued to ignore signs that clearly pointed to colon cancer. And then, there’s no doubt that chemo, radiation, and maybe even funeral planning would have come into play.

We don’t always get a second chance, and cancer is a formidable enemy. In far too many cases, it wins. So educate yourself about the signs of colon cancer. And pay attention to your body.

If you want to learn more about colon cancer symptoms, click here: Cancer Treatment Centers of America.

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Posted in Love, Trim Healthy Mama (THM) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments