New Years & New Beginnings

Happy New Year, everyone!

I hope you all enjoyed the holidays, including a safe and happy New Year’s. My favorite part will always be spending time with loved ones I don’t get to see as often as I’d like to. It’s not that I don’t love the decorations, the music, and the special foods, but the people mean so much more to me than anything else. And now that it’s over, part of me is glad that life is settling down again. Another part is sorry though. It’s a long wait until the next get-together.

But it is what it is, and it’s time to figure out what I’d like to accomplish in 2022.

Last year, I tried to set goals for the entire year. This works for a lot of people. They come up with long lists, and they know the odds are against them that they won’t accomplish all of them, but they will accomplish some of them. Unfortunately, that strategy doesn’t work for me. At all. In 2021, I set a list of goals: write/finish/edit/publish nine books, tackle a couple of business related goals that make me want to run away when I think about them, and go through two ‘work at your own pace’ writing courses.

I succeeded at two things on that list.

With that epic failure behind me, I didn’t know what to do for 2022. Then, a couple of days ago, a dear friend encouraged me to basically focus on one thing regarding my health, instead of several. Once that became a habit, add something else.

And that’s fabulous advice. So, instead of focusing on the whole of 2022,  I’m going to try to focus on one quarter at a time. There are three months in each quarter, so three projects seems like it should be doable. Especially these three. I have two books that are basically finished. A little editing, a little rewriting, and they’ll be ready to publish. The other is to start plotting the third book in the Weko Harbor series, and working on the character profiles. By the way, that was an affiliate link. Learn more about those by clicking here.

Okay, there are four goals, but there are only three for writing. Here’s hoping I can meet them all!

Now, I just found a pleasant surprise at Amazon. Three 5-star reviews for my new book, Loser Wins the Girl. You can check them out by clicking here. (that’s the same affiliate link as above)

Okay. One of my goals that isn’t work related, at least not entirely, is to start going to bed earlier. That ship has sailed tonight, but it’s not as late as I’ve been going most nights. I’m not entirely sure that training my brain to write during the day is going to work – because it really prefers to be creative between the hours of eleven p.m. and four to six a.m. – but I’m giving it a good shot.

Now, once again – I hope you have the happiest, most blessed new year ever! I also hope you enjoy this version of Auld Lang Syne – by one of my most favorite musical group ever!

Posted in #romance, affiliate link(s), Love, New Book, Weko Harbor Series, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Just Want to Wish You All…

…the merriest of Christmases, Happy Holidays, and a safe, healthy, and blessed 2022!

Posted in Holidays | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Words

Words matter.

With them, you can tear someone down, or build them up. Your words can reduce someone to tears, or make them want to sing with joy. They can mean everything, or nothing.

For me, words are what I use to tell stories – like my new book, Loser Wins the Girl.

Sorry, for the shameless plug and affiliate link (learn more about those by clicking here). Well, I’m not really sorry about it because some of you still don’t know it’s available at most online bookstores: iTunes, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Google, and Smashwords.

Back to words…

Now that 2021 is nearly over, many people are thinking about other words. Or, more specifically, one word  that they want to focus on in 2022. I’m one of those people. There are so many to choose from though. Good words. Words that could help shape the next year of my life. But I need to narrow it down to just one. The one that will inspire me day after day, until next New Year’s Eve. And I’m 99% sure it’s going to be…

Commit

For a second, I wondered if it should be recommit, but I realized that if I’d fully committed to something in the first place, there wouldn’t be a need to recommit to anything. And I sincerely want to commit to a few things for this coming year. I need to commit to them.

*Being a better Christian – every waking minute, no excuses
*Be a better family member, friend, and person – every day, even in traffic and crowded        stores, no excuses
*Do everything in my power to take care of my body like it’s important – every day, no            excuses
*Write, edit, and market consistently – six days a week, no excuses
*Remember to have fun – no excuses

Bet you can’t guess which phrase I’d have used – if phrases were what most people went for instead of a single word…

Maybe I won’t hit those goals 100% at the end of 2022, but if I give it my best, each and every day, I’ll be a lot closer to checking them off my list than I am right now.

If you had to choose a word that would inspire you for next year, what would it be? And why?

Okay. Now for a couple of my favorite songs that are about words…and could someone please tell me why Barry Gibb ever felt the need to hide that beautiful face with a beard!

Posted in Christianity, Goals, Love, New Book, Weko Harbor Series | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Weko Harbor Gazette, Edition 1

Just a quick hello! In conjunction with the recent release of Loser Wins the Girl, I thought I’d share a few articles from the Weko Harbor Gazette. I think it will be a fun way for you to learn more about town, and the people who live there. Enjoy!

By the way, the link above was an affiliate link. Learn more about those by clicking here.

Posted in #romance, New Book, Romance, Weko Harbor Series | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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.

Posted in #romance, Love, New Book, Weko Harbor Series | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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.

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

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. 

 

Posted in New Book, Newsletter, Romance, Weko Harbor Series | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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! 🙂

Posted in affiliate link(s), Romance | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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. 🙂

Posted in #romance, Love, New Book, Recipe, Royal Sweethearts Romance Series, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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