Excuses, Excuses

I’d like to say I have a good reason – or better than the ones I’ve already given – to explain my absence from my blog and Facebook page. But I don’t. It all boils down to my old friends burnout and writer’s block. 

I’ve basically been running on empty for a couple of years now. (Please note how I managed to work in the title of one of my very favorite songs so I can use it as an excuse to add the video in a few minutes. 🙂 )

There have been too many obligations and too much stress. Some, I wouldn’t trade for the world – my kids and Aria, for starters. But the rest just got to be too much resulting in not much sleep, writing, or blogging. Then there’s my Facebook page. I don’t even want to talk about how badly I’ve been neglecting all of you over there.

In a nutshell, everything came to a head a couple of months ago. Or started to. I finally managed to make my kids understand that I can’t just sit down, start typing, and produce a book. I need time. I need enough rest. And I need to start delegating some of the responsibilities that somehow wound up being all mine.

Things started to change at the beginning of this month. I’ve been wearing my Fitbit again and since March sixth, I’ve met my goal of seven and a half hours sleep on all but four days. Now I’m working on rearranging my schedule so I can try and get those hours all in a row rather than in two or three longish naps. Between all of this and making the Trim Healthy Mama lifestyle work for me, things are looking up. Finally.

I’ve also joined a ‘cabin’ for next month’s Camp NaNoWriMo. Along with a small group of other authors, I’ll be working on finishing up a few projects – Steven (book 2 in the Double M series), the as yet untitled first book in the Weko Harbor series, the Enza prequel, and book 4 in the Haunted Depot series. It sounds like a lot but two of the projects are more than half finished and the other two are partially written novellas.

And I have some big news. For the first time in I don’t know how long, I’m going to dip my toe in the ‘wide’ pond again. Hopefully, by the end of the week, I’ll have the newly recovered and re-titled time travel romances up at Kobo, iTunes, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, and maybe a few other stores (in addition to Amazon). Over the next few weeks, the Casteloria Royals and Haunted Depot series’ will join them.

Whether I keep them there or not, and whether my other books join them in all of the stores will depend entirely on how well they sell. So if you’d like to see my books everywhere again, you might consider helping to spread the word. I’ll share book covers and links as I get them. 🙂

In the meantime, here’s hoping that I’ll be on top of my game again before too much longer. It feels really good to be getting more sleep and to feel more in control of my life and career for the first time in two years.

*Photo Credit: Pixabay 

 

Posted in #contemporary romance, #GhostCurse, #HauntedDepot, Trim Healthy Mama (THM) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Super .99 Cent Sale! (& An Update)

Yes, you read that right! Now you can get 23 (twenty-three!) of my books for .99 cents! Am I using too many exclamation points?

Why? Call me a romantic at heart. It’s not like most of my books aren’t romances, right? Fourteen are flat out romances – including 2 book bundles (yes, those are .99 cents too!). Then there’s Enza and a few others. You can check them all out on my Amazon.com author page.

And now for the update…

I’ve been doing pretty good on the Trim Healthy Mama eating plan. There was a speed bump eight days ago when I got too busy and let myself get too hungry – and I consumed too many sugary foods. I paid for it the next couple of days by being achy and tired.

Then yesterday, I was meeting with my mother, sister, brother-in-law, and an aunt and uncle I’d barely seen since my dad’s funeral so I wasn’t going to worry about what I was eating. I was just going to have a nice visit. And a slice of coconut cream pie (oh yum!!!).

Today, I’m dragging again. Not as bad but then I didn’t do like I had the week before. When I went on the sugar cheat, I snacked from mid-afternoon until bedtime. Yesterday, I was back on plan immediately with supper.

One thing stands out to me – I know I feel worse today. And I wouldn’t know that if I hadn’t been starting to feel better. I’ve actually noticed that all week. I’ve had a little more energy, sleeping a little better, and waking up a little more alert than I have in quite some time.

One thing that’s been a huge help to me is (affiliate link >>>) Joseph’s Lavish Bread. They taste great! I’ve used them for ham wraps and pizzas. Broiled until just crisp, they make super chips for salsa.

They also make great crackers that can be used when eating chili, or for making homemade lunches with little squares of meat and cheese – or pizza sauce, pepperoni, and mozzarella.

So I’m really having no problem with changing my eating habits. The only time it’s a challenge is if I forget to eat when I should, or I get too busy and can’t. So I’m trying to make sure neither thing happens again.

And that’s the end of this update. Again, if anyone wants to give this a try – or any other getting healthy/getting in shape/losing weight plan – share your triumphs, struggles, advice, results, and thoughts in the comments section below. I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Bargain Books, Book Sale, Health, Love, Trim Healthy Mama (THM) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Wesley From Weko

Hey, everyone. I’m Wesley. Wesley Cooper. 

I guess that introduction only works well if your last name is Bond but a guy’s got to try it sometimes.

So Kristy’s turning the blog over to me this week and while I can be long winded in a face-to-face converWekosation, this is a whole new ballgame for me. Hopefully, you won’t be falling asleep or wanting to beat your head against a wall by the time you’ve finished reading it.

Let’s see. I’m an identical twin and while we were both kind of dorky when we were kids – and even into our mid-teens, I suppose – people say we look kind of like a young Gerard Butler these days. And I’m okay with that. In fact, I play it up as much as I can with the whole five-o’clock shadow thing he’s got going on.

And why not? Most people think I’m shallow anyway, so why the heck shouldn’t I take advantage of my assets? Am I right or am I right?

So…

Let’s see. You probably want to know my life’s history. Or not. But that’s what you’re going to get. The condensed version anyway because I don’t really know what else to write here.

Chase – my twin – and I were dumped in Aunt Jessie’s lap before we even started school. I haven’t seen my mother since and since she only listed him as TBH on our birth certificates, we don’t even know who our father is. And I’m okay with that. Why would I want to know a guy who didn’t stick around long enough to meet me?  Same with dear, sweet Mom.

I know there are some who think she’s the reason why I’ve never stayed in any relationship long. Commitment-phobe seems to be the favored label they’ve pinned on me. Maybe they’re right. After all, I learned at a young age that the people who should love you the most leave. I’m not going to take a chance on something like that happening again.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Aunt Jessie is a great substitute mother. Well, except for making Chase and I dress exactly alike for way too long. She busted her butt to take care of us and raise us right. She’s the one who got us involved in the church youth group, which is where I met my best friends. Nick, John, and Willa. Willa likes to call us the Four Musketeers, even now after we’re all grown up. There isn’t anything I wouldn’t do for any of them – especially Aunt Jessie.

Next… Hmm. I’m an accountant. Kind of a solitary profession for a life of the party guy like me – and let me tell you, I can party with the best of them. But I save that for weekends now because I’ve got a good job and I’m not about to screw it up by oversleeping because I stayed out too late the night before.

I’m pretty competitive and I love to swim. And read. Don’t tell anyone but I’m a sucker for Nicholas Sparks books. An ex got me hooked when I still cared enough to try and impress her. I can relate to some of his characters. Life doesn’t always give you a happily-ever-after. 

Okay. I’m sure I’ve bored you long enough so I’m going to cut out of here. Kristy says to tell you she’s doing really good on the Trim Healthy Mama plan – except for one thing she’ll mention in her next blog. She says if you’ve never tried (affiliate link >>>Swerve sweetener, you might want to buy stock in the company because she’s probably going to be buying truckloads of it.

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More Changes

This post may contain affiliate links (see here for my disclosure). In a nutshell, it means if you click on a link for a product – and you buy it or any of many other products – I’ll earn a small commission. Your price won’t change at all though. 🙂

Those of you who have been following the blog for any length of time might remember my reaction to going gluten-free. I was back and forth, agonizing over giving up favorite foods forever. Some days, I felt like I could do it, other days, I was more than a little resentful. But I finally got to the place where I gave in and gave it up. For three solid years. Until the day I got glutened … one too many times … by a supplement of all things. Unfortunately, wheat (and gluten) are hidden in all sorts of foods it shouldn’t – and doesn’t need to be in. 

Tired of suffering because of a minute amount of wheat in something I didn’t even get to enjoy, I went on a gluten tantrum that’s never quite ended.

With a baby – now a toddler – in the house, I was getting glutened all the time and didn’t see much point in trying anymore. I’m not going to say no to sweet baby, gluten-filled kisses, and I have no intention of making her eat gluten free snacks just because I can’t have it. Not when she doesn’t need to give it up.

Fast forward a couple of years and I’m getting ready to make another dietary change. I’ve been experiencing symptoms of another health issue and decided enough is enough. I’m still not ready to give up gluten again but it did finally convince me to listen to what a friend – fellow author Diana Layne – has been trying to tell me for over a year.

I’d ignored everything she told me about the Trim Healthy Mama (aka THM) plan. With my hypothyroidism, nothing worked for losing a few pounds. Nothing worked to really make me feel better. So why bother giving up foods I love if it’s all going to be a colossal failure anyway?

With these new symptoms (pre-diabetes), I knew I had to nip them in the bud. I was ready to listen. I had an aunt lose part of her leg because of complications from diabetes. I know other people who struggle with their health because of it. So after reading that dietary changes could reverse that, I was ready to listen.

Of course, this was the gluten-free thing all over again. I did spend less time getting my mind wrapped around it, but I spent a couple weeks gathering dozens and dozens of recipes, and learning as much as I could about this new eating plan.

I know it’s gotten kind of old to hear that a new eating plan isn’t a diet, it’s a lifestyle change. But I can honestly it’s probably true with the Trim Healthy Mama plan.

In less than 72 hours, I’d started to feel better. On day four, I knew it wasn’t a fluke. I did feel better.

I also had my day get totally out of control, ran too many errands on too light of a lunch, too many hours after a pretty light breakfast. And I scarfed down some candy, a handful of Doritos, and and a half liter bottle of Vernor’s (The. Best. Ginger. Ale. EVER!).

And now I’m dragging. With all of the great recipes I found, I caved. Because I found the one candy – Zachary’s Bridge Mix – that could tempt me when I was down. Nothing else could have gotten me off track because I was just too excited about having a little energy again.

But I let myself get too hungry. I won’t make that mistake again.

And to help ensure that I do not, I’m going to share my progress reports here. Results I expect to see include some weight loss, much more energy, and a reduction in some residual pain left from my car accident in 2008. Oh yeah. And getting rid of the pre-diabetes symptoms.

I’d love to have some of you join me in my 2018 quest to get healthier and in better shape. If you’d like to try Trim Healthy Mama (and lots of guys do it too!), I’ll be posting links to some of my favorite websites.

To start off, check out Briana Thomas’s website. Diana Layne shared it with me a couple of months ago because Briana is getting married soon (two or three weeks now) and she thought I’d be interested in reading a real-life love story (I was!).

I’m going to make her overnight chocolate oatmeal before I go to bed. And if I can remember to get some ice, I’m definitely Frosted Lemonade making her copycat version of the frosty lemon drink from Chick-Fil-A.  She calls it . and I’m excited to be able to have one again. Actually, the ingredients mean I could have one every day! 🙂

Since this is getting long though, here’s the link to her Starting Trim Healthy Mama page. And I’d like to say up front, I don’t know her. I don’t believe I’ve ever made a comment on any post on her website. I have, however, saved tons of links for recipes from her site.

Let me know in the comments if you’ll be joining me – and if you do, how you’re doing (and feeling)!

Photo Credit: Pixabay.com

 

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

Secrets

Remember when you were a kid and you and your siblings, or you and your friend(s), had this huge secret you didn’t want anyone to know about? You’d do the pinky swear thing, or a special handshake, or some other ritual that meant certain doom for the person who broke the promise and shared the secret they’d just sworn to carry to their grave?

What I have to say today isn’t quite that dramatic.

It’s not good though either.

Facebook has rolled out more changes today. In addition to forcing authors to pay to boost posts if they want more than just a handful of followers to see them – and even then, they just show them to a small fraction of people who have liked a page – now they have bots policing our posts.

If we ask for an opinion from readers, if we ask for advice that isn’t something like a police emergency or regarding travel, if we do much of anything that encourages you to comment or like a post … Facebook will start limiting our visibility even more than they’ve already done.

So my post last month that said something as simple as “white lights or multi-color lights” (or something like that) would have me flagged as a spammer. If I did something similar another time or two, they would consider it ‘engagement bait’ and my page would be ‘demoted.’ Meaning even fewer people will see my posts.

A quote from an article letting authors know about this new change pretty much says it all.

“All of this means that Pages that post promotional creative should expect their organic distribution to fall significantly over time.”

It goes on to say that if I post about a new book release, possibly even new blog post notices (my interpretation of the article), only a fraction of friends and followers will see it.

Because, apparently, it’s considered engagement bait – and engagement bait is only acceptable if we pay Facebook to boost those posts. 

So I’m going to try to do better with my blog and ask that those of you who enjoy talking with me check in here regularly because we can chat in the comments section here just as easily as we can on Facebook – and no one will be policing my post with bots that might misconstrue everything I say as spam or engagement bait.

So anyway, there you have it. The reason behind my weird Facebook post. I just felt like I needed to fill you all in on what’s going on and why I haven’t been posting as much as I used to. Most of you haven’t been able to see them and we’ve (authors) known this newest change was coming for a couple of months now.

Don’t forget to talk to me in the comments section below please. 🙂

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Guest Blogger, Darby O’Hara (of Code Red Christmas fame)

Hi, ladies (and gentlemen, if you’re visiting too). It’s Darby O’Hara. Kristy keeps saying with deadlines and Christmas, she’s too busy to do anything with the blog this month. Well, I’m not so sure I believe her because she was overheard to say that she and her daughter had taken Aria to see Santa (four times!), taken her sledding, gone shopping, and visiting relatives. She’s also been doing some reading and has, according to Holly, been hammering out her 2018 goals.

Of course we all know that with Kristy, goals are more of a wish list so we won’t be holding our breath. She’s just pulled in too many directions and doesn’t know how to say no. But Holly says if she can do even half of what she wants to do, you all will have plenty of stories to read next year.

For now though, I’ve been nominated to take a turn at her blog. We’ll see how bad I manage to mess it up because seriously, I’m so not a writer. But when the kids hit the terrible twos, Emma said I should start blogging about what it was like to raise triplets. I said sure, I’ll get right on it. Then we all laughed and I never gave it another thought. But I guess that qualifies me enough to try.

My mission was to write a movie review. Given that my reviews tend to be limited to, “It was really good. I loved it,” or “It was horrible, don’t waste your money,” I kind of panicked. So I decided if I’m stuck writing it, I’m having some help.

This is from our girls’ night out this month. The guys had all the kids and I pulled The Spirit of Christmas up on Netflix. Cal left a couple of roaster pans full of hot buttered popcorn, an oblong cake pan full of chocolate fudge with walnuts, and a big bowl of punch so we were set for snacks. I gave all the girls a small notebook and pen, along with orders to make some notes on what they liked about the movie.

Here are those notes, in order of popularity.

  1. All of us agree that Thomas Beaudoin is hot! He’s also a really good actor and played a believable ghost.
  2. Some of us – mainly Jenna and Holly – think Robert Walsh is pretty hot too. And a good actor.
  3. We all think Jen Lilley did a fine job of playing the heroine though about half of us (Hannah, Harry, Emma, and Clancy) think they could have played the part more believably … and you’re not supposed to mention that fact to Jon, Chris, Ty, or Mitch please.
  4. We all thought the inn was beautiful but given a recent winter storm warning – that actually panned out – some weren’t as thrilled over the beautiful snowy scenery as the rest of us.
  5. On the romantic scale of 1 – 10, here are our votes:

Jess voted a 9 because she thought they should have kissed earlier. Holly, Emma, and Clancy say 9 because they would have liked a better explanation of the end. They do concede that it was a good ending anyway but they’d have liked more details. Hannah, Jenna, Harry, and I gave it a solid 10. We think it was perfect the way it was.

  1. Did I mention we all thought Thomas Beaudoin was really hot?
  2. Would we recommend it to you? Absolutely. We’re 100% agreed on that. Definitely, if you get the chance (even though Christmas is over for the year), it’s worth your time to watch.

Now, we’ve only got about an hour before we have to go pick up our husbands and kids. We’ve got to clean up our mess so Chris doesn’t come home to it.

Whew. I’m glad this is over. If Kristy keeps forcing us to do letting us do the blog, it shouldn’t be my turn until well in to next year.

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SO Excited!

Sometimes, I think I need my head examined – like deciding I was going to publish not one but four stories this month! There were times I was ready to throw in the towel and admit defeat but … I did it! Not only that, I also put the Cooking With the Coach’s Boys back out.

I’m pleased with the feedback I’m getting from the Haunted Depot: The Ghost Curse series, published under my pen name, J.J. Belding. Contrary to the series name, there’s nothing terribly scary or evil (at all) about the books. It’s still pretty much sweet romance. It just takes place over a few novellas instead of in one longer book.

Click the titles to get The Secret, The Depot, and A Merry Depot Christmas today.

And finally…. I just hit publish on Back to the Beginning, Book 8 in the Coach’s Boys Series. I couldn’t be more excited about this one!  It’s a story I’ve always believed I needed to tell – it just took a while to figure out the best way to write it. Alas, I don’t have a link to this book yet. Hopefully, tomorrow.

During their regular bi-monthly ‘guy’s night out,’ an ill-timed phone call brings back memories of the year Ed first came into their lives. A year that brought painful changes, unbearable heartache, and fear over what the future might bring.

In this installment of the Coach’s Boys series, you’ll catch up with what’s going on in the lives of Dan, Sam, Chris, Jon, Cal, and Ed. You’ll also get to know who they were twenty years ago – and the challenges they faced that helped them become the men they are today.

 

Posted in #HauntedDepot, #romance, Christmas, Coach's Boys Series, Cover Reveal, Holidays, J.J. Belding | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A New J.J. Belding Story!

Hey, everyone…

Christmas is fast approaching and my first J.J. Belding holiday story is going to be going live on Amazon this week! And …. by Christmas Eve, God willing and the creeks don’t rise, so will the newest Coach’s Boys story. 🙂

I’ve got too much editing to do (and stew and dumplings to make) so here’s the new cover and information…

 

 

Posted in #GhostCurse, #HauntedDepot, Christmas, Holidays, New Book, New Release | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

A Surprise Guest

Hello. Dan here. Dan Mulholland. You know. From the Coach’s Boys series? Kristy has decided that since she’s so busy trying to get our newest book ready for next week, she’s going to try an experiment. Sometimes, maybe, she’s going to let us take over the blog and newsletters for her. I’m not going to hold my breath though because once things slow down a little and she starts getting more sleep again, she might change her mind.

For now though, we’re going to run with it. We all did the whole rock, paper, scissors game and I won. Which is really as it should be because other than Laura Keane, or whatever her last name is, from the Casteloria Royals series, I’ve got more writing experience than anyone else.

Uh-

Hang on for just a second…

Okay. I just took a lot of flak for that because no one else believes that writing house listings counts as “real” writing. I disagree because I do sell a lot of houses but hey, whatever.

Anyway, with this coming out of the blue – and so close to Christmas – I’m going to keep this blog post short. Kristy isn’t the only one who is crazy busy.

She said it was okay to let everyone know Cooking With the Coach’s Boys (affiliate link) is going to be back on the virtual shelves at Amazon – and I thought this would be an excellent opportunity to remind everyone that Jess’s famous cherry/whipped cream cake she makes every Christmas is in that very book.

I also want to wish each and every one of you a very Merry Christmas (or Happy Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, whatever other holiday you might celebrate – or just a good rest of the month if you don’t celebrate any holidays) … from all of us here in Michigan.

Michigan, which just happens to be under a winter storm warning today so I’m closing up shop early and heading home. If I’m going to be snowed in, it’s going to be at home with my wife and kids, not in the office with all of my co-workers – who I like just fine but still… They’re not my family.

I’ll try to wow you all more with my next post.

Take care,

Dan

P.S., Kristy wanted me to remember to share her 2017 video Christmas card with all of you.

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Reflections

I’ve been debating whether to post about this or not because I can’t give out specific details but since I’m still thinking about it after more than a week, I suppose I will.

A few days after Thanksgiving, someone I and several others used to be close to passed away. There was a tragic event and most of us chose to – rightfully – support the victim. The other small group chose to support the guilty party … and there was very clearly – legally – a victim and a guilty party.

It caused a  huge wedge between everyone but it was assumed that during this sad time, there might be a little bridge building. Most of us wanted to let the past go, at least for this, but it wasn’t meant to be. Long story short, those who supported the victim were banned from the funeral.

At first we were all offended. Then mad, then hurt. Then back to mad. I can’t speak for the others but I finally realized I don’t need people in my life who don’t want to be there. No matter how important any person used to be, if they choose – for whatever reason – to walk away, I’m not going to chase them.

[bctt tweet=”I don’t need anyone in my life who doesn’t want to be there.” username=”@KristyKJames”]

Will I regret my decision to let them go? Not really. They chose this path, not me. I’ll still pray for them and I’ll still wish them well but honestly… Life is too short and there are too many people who do want to be part of mine. I’ll focus on them instead – and be the happier for it.

I’ll always be sorry things turned out this way though. But I’ll always have some wonderful childhood memories to look back on.

Photo Credit: Pixabay

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