Another Year Nearly Gone…

I’ve been wishing the Ghost of Christmas Past would pay me a visit. Not really. I would never wish for a visit from a ghost. But the thought does make for a good opening line, doesn’t it? 

It would be nice, though,  if my dreams could whisk me back to some of the most special times in my life. Especially if I could remember them when I wake up.

I’ve been thinking about when I was a kid since reading something from one of my uncles on Facebook yesterday. And I’ve been remembering Christmases past, the same as everyone else who saw the post. Not just that though. There were picnics and pot lucks. Hot summer afternoons swimming and water skiing. Softball games and countless other reasons to just hang out together.

When I was a kid, I had two sets of grandparents and  fifteen aunts and uncles, not counting the ones who married in to both sides of the family. Technically, I had four more aunts, and another uncle, but they were from a grandfather’s remarriage – and those kids were a lot younger than my parents, more like cousins. That’s how I always think of them anyway.

And lets not even delve too deeply into the cousin situation. There are like three generations of us. I was in the middle group, and never particularly close to the oldest ones. But I did make a fair amount of money babysitting their kids when I was a teenager. I was never really close to the youngest ones either because when you’re a teen, and even grown when some of them are still being born, you don’t usually form the closer relationships like you do with the ones who are in your age group.

But everyone is still family. It’s the grandparents, aunts, and uncles (and the older cousins) who teach you that there are grownups – other than your parents – that you can trust. And the cousins you grow up with are often the best friends you’ll ever have, aside from your siblings.

I don’t think my siblings even know I have a website, or a blog, and that’s probably a good thing – because they’d probably want to wring my neck for sharing this photo. But we were pretty cute back then – even me. I’m the one in the upper left corner, giving one of my brothers the side-eye, for some reason.

It makes me sad this Christmas, as it does every Christmas, to think of the ones who aren’t with us anymore. It makes me even sadder though when I think of how busy the rest of us are. I know we’ve all grown up and have families of our own. I know there are jobs, homes, hobbies, friends, and many other things going on in our lives.

But in the same way I miss the family members we’ve lost, I also miss the kids I used to play with. The kids I used to babysit. And the older cousins I always looked up to and wanted to be like.

Time passes so fast once you’ve left childhood behind. All you have to do is blink a couple of times and you realize it’s been a long, long time since you’ve seen some of the people you’ve loved all your life. You also realize you don’t really know them anymore either. And at the rate life flies by, you probably never will again.

The song below popped into my head when I sat down to write this. I don’t know why. It’s never been one of my favorites. It’s not on any of my playlists. And if it came on the radio while I was driving, I’d probably start searching for something I like better. But it seems to fit my melancholy mood tonight.


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The Bundles & Other Stuff

Hey, everyone. Editing isn’t going quite as quick as I’d like, but I’m still in hopes of having something new out before the end of the year. That doesn’t include the two bundles I told you about in my last post. I do have universal links for them, so I’m doing a bit of a repeat for them in this post.

I’m also training my daughter to be a PA (personal assistant for writers). She seems to think it would be a cool job – and all I can say is – have at it, sweetheart! Because the jobs she’ll be able to do when she’s ready are jobs I despise doing. The jobs that make me want to buy stock in an ibuprofen company.

Am I being mean? No. Being mean would be her trying to teach me how to knit. I am not coordinated enough to be handling knitting needles, but she loves it. And I figure any of the ‘knit’ picky (I know, it’s nitpicky, but it was just too tempting to not use the other form of the word) stuff about writing I hate is a zillion times easier than knitting. If she can teach herself how to do that from YouTube videos, learning to be a PA should be almost as easy as dunking a cookie in a glass of milk for her.

Anyway, back to those links…

Bundled Up for Christmas:
Haunted Depot:

The other stuff? We finally got a little snow last night. Max doesn’t seem overly impressed.  Hopefully, it will keep the little fur ball from trying to dart out the door to explore the ‘neighborhood’ every time we let Blondie out for the last time each day. If you’re new to my website, you’ll see why we don’t like for him to get outside at night. He blends in with the dark quite nicely!

And one last thing… Something from tonight’s playlist, though to warn you, it’s an hour long. I just loved the snowy background, so I chose this video over all the others. 🙂

Photo credit: Pixabay

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Update … and a Renewed Focus

If I had to chose a famous quote that would describe me (and my life) – on a consistent basis – it would be, “The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.” It’s a translation from a Scottish poem that has always resonated with me. Why? Because, simply put, my plans often go awry.

For instance, I did not meet all of my NaNoWriMo goals. I did, however, finish the first two books – and the prequel – for the new series! I’m in the process of editing them. My hope had been for book 1 to be released by the end of November, with the second one to be released by Christmas. And the prequel to be given as a gift to newsletter subscribers.

Again, the best laid plans…

I’ll continue that train of thought in a second. Right now, before I forget, I’ve just released a couple of book bundles. I’ve you’ve never read Erin’s Christmas Wish, The Secret Admirer, and my Depot series, now is your chance. And… At a savings of more than 80%! Yup. As my Christmas gift to anyone who hasn’t read them, I’ve priced each bundle at .99 cents. 🙂

Right now, they’re only available at Barnes & Noble and Kobo, but should be showing up soon at Amazon and iTunes. If I can ever figure out how to do a table of contents for them, they’ll be at Smashwords too. Here are the links I have so far:

Bundled Up for Christmas: Barnes & Noble  Kobo Books
Haunted Depot: Barnes & Noble  Kobo Books

Okay, back to the original topic…

A pinched shoulder nerve threw a wrench in everything, from around mid-September through about a week ago. But… It didn’t halt my writing progress. It just slowed it down. I couldn’t do much in the way of typing because it aggravated the pain. So … I got even better at dictating. Instead of just aiming for a really rough first draft, I started actually writing. Using my voice! Including corrections and some editing. It’s not as fast as typing, but now I’m at a place where I can combine both and… Well… We’ll have to see what happens as far as timing goes.

That’s where my renewed focus comes in. 

I’m doing my best to make writing a priority, as I feel better. And I am feeling better. Between my doctor finally increasing the dosage of my thyroid medicine, and working steadily toward keto and intermittent fasting, things are looking up.

I’m also making my health a bigger priority. I never want another repeat of this year, though the miracles were wonderful. But I just want to stay healthy from now on. And since I figure health is probably important to most of you, I’ll share what I’m doing with you.

No, I’m not advising anyone to do anything. I’m not a doctor. I make decisions for me based on what I learn from a lot of research. I do encourage everyone to do their own research. Doctors and medicine are important. But so are other things – like diet, sleep, exercise … and who knows what all? I’m just doing my best to never get cancer again. 

And with that, I’m going to leave you with one of my favorite – and most motivational romantic songs … one I’m listening to tonight (with many others) as I edit. 

Posted in #CarolMoncado, #GhostCurse, #HauntedDepot, #readingromance, #romance, Book Sale, Christmas, Cover Reveal, Health, Holidays, keto, Love, NaNoWriMo, New Release, Playlist, Romance, Weko Harbor Series, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tonight’s Playlist and an Update

I suppose I could start off with the update, but I’m not going to. I’m going to make you wonder for a little while. Is it a good update? Is it a bad update? Time will tell.

Of course, I suppose you could just skip to the end of this post, if you’re really curious. But it’s going to be a short post because this is November. And we all know what November is. Or those of you who have followed me for a while know what November is.

National Novel Writing Month. Better known as NaNoWriMo. At least it is for those participating in it each year. What exactly is NaNoWriMo? That’s easy. It’s a worldwide challenge to see if authors can write the 50,000 word first draft of a novel in 30 days.

And yes, I plan to participate in it this year. In fact, I might have mentioned this a post or two ago, that I hope to write what was supposed to be the second book in the new series. But I’m thinking it might be the third, because of some timing issues. Will see though. As long as I can get it completed, I’ll be happy.

Now for the playlist…

Writing romance, you pretty much have to assume I love romantic music. And if you do assume that, you would be correct. If you followed my blog post for any length of time, you will note that I have used a couple of these songs on more than one occasion because they’re some of my very favorites. The third one is to though, I just don’t think about it quite as often.

Anyway, here they are, in no particular order. I’m going to offer an opinion here, even though you didn’t ask for one. If you have a special someone in your life, these would be really good songs to dance to.

Oops. I almost forgot about that update. It’s nothing really big. Not like earth shattering or anything. But… I finished the first draft of the first book in my new series!!!!!!! 🙂

Photo credit: Pixabay

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Not Tonight, Dear, I Have a Headache

I have been thinking a lot about my life this year. Given the way 20/20 has gone, both for the world and for me personally, it’s not surprising that I would be reflecting on everything from my health to my career. And I’ve decided that it’s time to put more focus on the things that are most important to me.

At the top of the list, of course, would be my family, followed by a improving my health, and finally, my career. I’ll probably be writing about all of this stuff from time to time, but for now, I’m going to just try to get back to my blogging roots. That means posting about the things that I enjoy sharing with you. That will include recycling some of my older blog posts, from back when no one knew I had a blog except other authors. It will also include new posts on the subject of romance.

Hope you enjoy this post from September 8, 2012. I’ve updated it a little bit, including the font color. I decided I’ve used the plum color long enough. It’s time for a change – and everything, I guess. 🙂


Ha! Bet you think you know where I’m going with this post…and you couldn’t be more wrong. Believe it or not, sex isn’t the only thing that brings on the headache syndrome. Seriously. We’ve all been there, those times when Romeo or Juliet wants to do something that makes scrubbing the toilet, or dealing with the science experiments in the refrigerator, look like fun.  These are moments when we suspect that the delivery room doctor dropped our mate on the floor, head first, when they were born. But guess what?

Your mate isn’t always thrilled with the things you enjoy either.

Nope. You don’t corner the market on cool. In fact, I’d be willing to bet (were I a betting kind of person), that Juliet wants to run for cover when you announce that you’ve planned a romantic evening watching the Barfbowl Superbowl. And I’m sure that Romeo feels the same way when you decide it’s time to refurbish the bedroom. After all, fuchsia is so much prettier than brown…

But what can you do except suffer silently…if you want to keep the peace anyway?

Surprisingly enough, there are alternatives – unless you enjoy that whole martyr thing (and if that’s the case, it might be time to seek professional help).

Ladies…make the football game more bearable by accepting the fact that, while you might hate it, your partner does not. So grab a good book, or your knitting needles, and keep yourself occupied doing something you like. Then during time outs and halftime, pretend you’re teenagers and start making out.

Going to a car show – and not a car buff? Take the camera along. Both of you can take turns posing beside cars like you’re models. Chat with the car owners, always a nice way to spend your time. Ask if the two of you can sit in the backseats of the ones you like, and talk the owners into to taking pictures. Again, make out like you were in high school.

Guys…I’m going to have some trouble here because I don’t know everything you hate to do, but here’s one suggestion.

If hanging out with her friends and their boyfriends/husbands rates a 3,421,876 on the list of things you love to do, I understand that it could be hard to take. But if you want her to hang out with your buddies and their gals, suck it up and go. Try to be your charming self, talk with the other guys. And if it’s really a miserable situation, discreetly chug that little bottle of Syrup of Ipecac you hid in your pocket before you left. Then make sure you throw up in the main party area. Win/win. You’ve put a quick end to the get-together…and your girlfriend/wife will baby you because she thinks you’re sick.

Okay…for those of you who don’t know me well enough yet…that part about throwing up was a joke. The fact of the matter is, even though you might hate parties, the odds are better than good that you won’t hate everyone there. If you put forth a little effort to be sociable, you might just find yourself having a good time.

Stop being miserable…and start getting creative.

Instead of using excuses to get out of things you don’t like doing, or going along with it and hating every second of it…think of those activities as a chance to be with your mate. Give your brain a little exercise and start thinking. There’s almost always something you can do to make them more fun than usual. Except camping. Unless the tent is pitched on the floor of the hotel room. And I get to sleep on the bed. And order room service.

But… Will you be there for that football game? Or another episode of Friends?


See you next time for a new tip.


If you think that any of the suggested tips are a good fit for you, and you decide to give them a try, I’d love to know if you got the results you hoped for.  Although I can’t guarantee you’ll get any results, most people respond well to sweetness, consideration and attention.  Just remember, you will need to exercise some patience, and be consistent.  Anything worth having usually requires effort.

*Photo Credit: Pixabay

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I’ll bet you’re wondering what that number in the subject line means. Does it refer to money? Or does it have something to do with time? Nope. It’s actually the total of 3,900 and 1,728. And now you’re probably wondering what those two numbers mean, right?

Well, I’m going to tell you. This is my way of updating you on where I’m at with the new series. Currently, I’m at 3,900 words left to write in the first book, and 1,728 in book 3, Don’t even ask why I did book 1 and then 3 – because I don’t have a good explanation. If you haven’t figured out that I can be a little…different…well, I guess you know now. 🙂

But next month is National Novel Writing Month, a.k.a., NaNoWriMo, and that’s when I plan to deal with that middle book. Yes, there will be a book two.

Now, to change the subject abruptly here’s something that would shock you if you knew me better. If you’ve followed my blog for any length of time, you all know that I’ve been trying to do a low carb diet. What you might not know, is that I’m getting a little tired of cauliflower, cabbage, green beans, broccoli, and salads as the only side dishes to my protein.

And so, yesterday, I bought a butternut squash, a dark green squash I can’t remember the name of at the moment, and three small zucchinis. I also bought a bag of pre-cut butternut squash, cooked it, and whipped it with a little bit of butter, a little bit of brown Swerve (affiliate link, click here to learn more), and a little bit of sugar free maple syrup. Then I topped it with some chopped pecans.

Surprisingly, I didn’t hate it. But I didn’t love it either. I’m hoping that making it with a fresh squash, it will be better. I’m sure there were preservatives and chemicals in the precut stuff I bought, and I never like the taste of any of that stuff.

Here’s the picture. My favorite thing on the plate was the garlic Parmesan chicken. Someday, I might say the same thing about squash. I’m not going to hold my breath though. 🙂 🙂 🙂 If you have any squash recipes you just love, please feel free to share them with me in the comments section below.

Since I need to get back to work, I’ll leave you with a couple of the songs on the playlist I created for this series. Since it’s set in a beach town, I’ve found ‘yacht rock’ is the most inspiring music to listen to. Honestly? I’d never heard of yacht rock until two or three months ago – but I love it! 


Photo credit: Pixabay

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Why Men Should Read Romance Novels

I know. I know. I’ve heard all the arguments about why romance novels are a waste of time. They set women up to have unrealistic expectations. Expectations the average guy can’t hope to meet. They make us want things mortal men could never give us. They make us want Romeo, Albert Einstein, and James Bond -all rolled into Captain America‘s new and improved body. (by the way, that was an affiliate link – learn more about those by clicking here)

Oh yeah. And let’s not forget – he must have a bank account valued at slightly less than all of the gold in Fort Knox, a mansion requiring an army of maids and groundskeepers, and a collection of expensive sports cars.

Romantic, smart, suave, sexy/strong/brave, and rich. The perfect man.

Sure, there are books written with heroes like that. And maybe there are women who want that kind of man. But I’m going to step out on a limb and say that’s not the man most women dream about.

And why would we? If our bars are set that high, wouldn’t theirs be too?

Personally, I think most women would prefer the kind of guy who takes the time to read romance novels. Not erotica novels, but romance. The kinds of stories written about real men. Real men who aren’t afraid to roll up their sleeves and help around the house. Who put the toilet seat down. Who can prepare a meal. Or run a relaxing bath for a wife who has had a rough day. One who supports her and encourages her to be the best she can be. Someone who considers her safety and well-being important.

And – this is VERY important – a man who doesn’t think sex and romance are the same thing. Because, let me tell you, they’re not.

These are all great reasons for men to read romance novels. To make an effort to discover the things that make ‘her’ swoon, feel safe, feel important. And to see if they can figure out ways to apply some of that knowledge to their relationship. 

If I were a betting kind of woman, I’d wager a small fortune that if men would actually pick up those books – in the same way they’d pick up a book for any class they might be interested in – they’d learn a lot. And if they’d take it a step further and actually apply even a few of the things they would learn, their marriages/dating lives would improve greatly.

Because a woman who feels loved and cherished will almost certainly try to find ways too reciprocate. I’d call that a win/win, wouldn’t you?

Even as a scrawny, ninety-pound weakling, Steve Rogers was a better man than the bullies who picked on him. And, speaking of, I think it’s time to pull out my CD and spend some quality time with the Cap.

Photo credit: Pixabay

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Broken Links

Hey, everyone…

I apologize! I sent a newsletter with links for the Free Starter Library  (The Daddy Pact and A Prince on the Run), as well as letting everyone know that the Coach’s Boys and Royal Sweethearts series’ are no longer exclusive to Amazon, but in numerous online stores again.

And I used universal book links for each book. Unfortunately, some of the store links are not working correctly. I did get individual links for the two free books on the page though.

I’ve contacted the company and, hopefully, this will be resolved sometime tomorrow. If not, I will have individual links for all of the books up by the end of the week. I did try to send another newsletter, but I’ve hit my limit for today and can’t do that again until tomorrow. I’ll try again around midnight.

Again, I apologize for any inconvenience you may be experiencing because of this. 🙁 


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I Struck Chocolate Gold!

Oh my word! You know all those ideas people seem to get? The ones that make them hang their heads in shame and decide to keep their mouths shut and not tell a soul what they did? 

This wasn’t one of those ideas! 

Since deciding keto just wasn’t going to work for me and going back to the Trim Healthy Mama plan, I’ve been a lot happier. It’s a much easier diet to follow, and I love many of the foods I get to eat. And I just plain and simply feel better without added sugars and high glycemic stuff in my body.

But that doesn’t mean I don’t miss the things I’ve loved my whole life. And with that in mind tonight, I decided I was going to experiment. Because I had a craving for one of those old favorites.

Recalling how nicely the granular Swerve (affiliate link, click here to learn more) caramelized with pecans for a lovely chaffle one day, I thought … it’s got to work for this too!

And it did!!!! Take a look at this!

And this!

This chocolate is staying on the ice cream. It’s not sliding off. And it’s not melted chocolate bars or chips either. It actually turned into something similar to the dipping topping at ice cream parlors. And it was soooooo good, even Aria loved it!

Tomorrow, I’m going to make it again – and this time get exact measurements and times. I’m also going to see how something similar might work for a more traditional style no-bake cookie. 

This is how I made it (more or less)…

About 1/2 cup of granular Swerve
1 tablespoon granular Pyure
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 tablespoons soft butter
2 tablespoons heavy cream
a couple pinches of pink sea salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Mix the sweeteners and cocoa in small pan until blended. Add salt, butter, and cream and mix well. Over medium low heat, bring to soft boil and simmer 20-30 seconds, stirring pretty much constantly for the entire time. Remove from heat (seriously, take it OFF the burner) and stir in vanilla. Serve over low carb ice cream. Yum!

Editing to add that leftovers turn out like the kind of fudge you cook, so if you have any left, I’d put it in a small buttered dish.

I will say that if this is anything like the sugar-laden stuff I used to make, how it turns out can be different each time. Sometimes, it came out like a hot chocolate syrup. Other times it turned into a kind of soft, stretchy caramel-kind of thing the second it hit the ice cream. And then it could turn out kind of like hot fudge. Any way it turned out though was great!

Since I’ve only made the low carb version this one time, I don’t know if it’ll turn out different every time or not. The one thing I do know is there’s NO simmering this stuff for a minute or two. And there’s definitely NO letting it simmer without stirring it. More than the 20 or 30 seconds, and no stirring, will likely end up with a burned product that will wind up in the trash.

Oops. I totally forgot. Keep checking my Amazon page through October 1oth because I’m having an end of summer sale. Numerous books will either be free – or at reduced prices!

Anyway, I wanted to share this for any Trim Healthy Mamas or low carbers out there. This is good stuff!

Photo credit (chocolate swirl): Pixabay

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Everyone has them. Some are very visible. Some can only be found with things like x-rays or CT scans. Some though,  remain hidden no matter how hard you might look for them. Even a full body MRI scan wouldn’t be able to find them.

After this year, I have some very visible scars. Well, visible if I were to actually show them to people, but I don’t. Not because I’m ashamed of them – because I’m not. But for those scars, I wouldn’t be here today, so I’m totally okay with them. And maybe, on the one year anniversary of the last surgery, I’ll post a photo of my stomach. Maybe not. I’ll have to see. 

I’m sure most of you have physical scars too. And we all have the invisible ones, to one degree or another. Some aren’t so bad. Others might have made us wish for a physical injury because it would have been less painful.

I think those scars are the worst of all because they tend to change our lives forever. And not in a good way either. Chris Parker (A Harry Situation), and Jon Rambo (Her Best Friend Jon) were both heroes with scars, as are the heroes in the two books I’m working on. (Those two links, as well as the one below, are affiliate links. Learn more about them by clicking here.)

In the fourth book in the Royal Sweethearts series, Quinn MacMahon suffers a devastating injury that could change his life forever. Those scars are a mixture of both physical and emotional. In the other book, Wesley Cooper’s are of the emotional variety. In both cases, these men are – let’s say lacking in ‘perfect’ hero qualities when their stories begin. Especially Wesley. But to say more would be giving away too much.

I will say that as I finish the final few scenes in one story, and begin the final edits in the other, I’m very pleased with the way both men turned out. From wondering if each was right for ‘the job,’ to making me swoon by the end, I couldn’t be happier with them.

I’ll start giving some snippets of scenes out when I can see the end in sight. Or at least see it more clearly than I do at the moment. But it’s not too far away now. And I hope, when you finally have a chance to meet these particular heroes, that you grow to love them as much as I do. 

As I was searching for a song to represent my guys, I couldn’t find one a perfect one. But a favorite by Matchbox Twenty comes close enough (and it’s Rob Thomas, people. Rob Thomas.). It also hit me that, surprisingly, Wesley is a Nicholas Sparks fan. A little unusual, I think. Then I realized that the reason he likes that author is because the stories remind him that there are no happily-ever-afters in life. Not in his anyway. Quinn is a bit like that too.

Amazing what my characters reveal to me over time. Things they knew all along. It just takes me a while to figure it out sometimes. 🙂


Photo credit: Pixabay

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