This and that July 25, 2021

Right where I’m supposed to be.

Like most people I look at my life compared to others, convinced I come up short. What have I done that would amount to anything?

Lately, I’ve been hearing voices of reason saying there is only one you, the one person equipped with your unique talents. There are things only you can do. If you don’t do them they will be left undone. Be you. To the best of your ability.

I’m listening. Working toward being at peace with being me.

*************

Switching gears completely; there was an interesting email yesterday from prolific and popular author Davis Bunn. There were two attachments, one was a reading from his latest book and the other was a tour of his current address. They are living in a palace, how awesome is that.

I’ll share them here for you.

Here is a peek at his latest book. I’ve read and enjoyed the sample.

Prime Directive 

Amazon quote:

Lieutenant Amanda Bostick is ordered to investigate why scientists on a distant outpost on the planet of Lorian are being murdered with no alarm raised.

“In the past ninety days, sixteen colonists have been murdered, and nobody thought to report it until now?”

When a number of scientists are mysteriously killed on an insignificant scientific outpost on the planet of Loria and no alarm is raised, Commander Rickets of the Galactic Space Arm (GSA) is angered that no one can explain why. Rickets orders Lieutenant Amanda Bostick along with two armed Guardians, Sergeant Hamoud and Corporal Nasim, to investigate.

All three have faced setbacks in their careers and time is against them: the GSA is demanding answers within ten days. But they have no idea what to expect as there are few reports on the planet.

Why are the scientists being killed? Is there more to the mission than first appears? Are the sentient Lorians who inhabit the planet more of a threat than the GSA realize?

**********************

This wasn’t on my radar for today’s post but now that it is I am more than happy to share with you.

If any other sudden inspirations pop up, I will plan on This and That part two.

Enjoy your day.

Happy Reading.

Most recent favorite book July 24, 2021

This was a stay up all night reading kind of book. I wasn’t sure, going in, if I’d like it so it was a wonderful surprise to find I loved it.

31 Kisses (Christmas Fiction) 

Amazon quote:

When one plus one equals thirty-one…

It happens every day.
Guy meets grandpa–and girl.
Guy knocks grandpa off ladder
Guy kisses girl to make it “all better.”
Every day.
For a month.
Just your normal, average, all-American romance…

Meet Chessie and Carson. She goes “all out” for Christmas (and every other holiday including Columbus Day, Cinco de Mayo, and Flag Day); he doesn’t own a single thing that could be considered decorative–unless you count the stickers he stuck to his dresser back when he was three.

Neither of them have ever had a serious relationship; both are opposed to frivolous expressions of affection. How on earth did they get tangled up in a “kiss-a-day-during-December” pact?

******************************

Chautona has a view of life that is uniquely her and it adds a special flavor to her books. I don’t always get Chautona’s humor or even the way she has the character’s think and interact. This time I totally got it. All the way through. It was perfect. Most of what happened was unexpected and it added a depth to the story that kept me reading.

I loved this book.

*****************************

My current read is a historical romance set back in the days of wagon trains, settlers, and the wild wild, west. It’s not quite as engaging as 31 Kisses but it has still captured my attention. I don’t think I can afford to read all night again tonight though.

The Accidental Guardian (High Sierra Sweethearts Book #1)

Amazon quote:

When Trace Riley finds the smoldering ruins of a small wagon train, he recognizes the hand behind the attack as the same group who left him as sole survivor years ago. Living off the wilderness since then, he’d finally carved out a home and started a herd–while serving as a self-appointed guardian of the trail, driving off dangerous men. He’d
hoped those days were over, but the latest attack shows he was wrong.

Deborah Harkness saved her younger sister and two toddlers during the attack, and now finds herself at the mercy of her rescuer. Trace offers the only shelter for miles around, and agrees to take them in until she can safely continue. His simple bachelor existence never anticipated kids and women in the picture and their arrival is unsettling–yet enticing.
Working to survive the winter and finally bring justice to the trail, Trace and Deborah find themselves drawn together–yet every day approaches the moment she’ll leave forever
.

****************************

Happy Reading

How was your week?

This was a letter to a friend tonight, chatting and asking about her week. It was fun to remember good days gone by and I thought it would be nice to share memories with you too. This takes place in Canada.

How was your week? Was the weather warmer than you’d like? Did you have a chance to get to the mainland to see the kids?

Our weather has been warm again the last few days. It makes me very grateful for A/C when temps are in the 30s. I like to be outside when it’s working though because cold air blowing around makes me shiver. I sit on the deck with a book and a coffee to enjoy the heat. I don’t work in the yard though, exertion in heat like that is a killer. My body doesn’t handle overheated very well anymore. I wait for evenings and mornings to garden.

We’ve had air quality alerts with all the smoke hanging around from the many forest fires between Saskatchewan, here, and western Ontario. We don’t have nearly as many fires as you do in BC but still, there’s been enough smoke to reduce visibility and turn what sun we could see orange. We’ve had rain with thunder and lightning where I live. The rain seems to be localized. Some areas get it and others don’t. The farmers are having a hard time of it. Some are selling off their herds as they are having trouble with feeding them.

One of my neighbors has been replacing part of his fence due to the weather. It had a definite list to it after one of the big storms whipping through at the end of May. The wind can get really wild around here with major storms . Watching the poor trees taking a beating and listening to roar of the wind, always makes me think of being out on the water. Between the number of years spent near the ocean in North Vancouver, Prince Rupert, and then Chemainus, there must be scary memories buried somewhere in my subconscious data bank.

I guess the ocean wasn’t the only place we experienced scary times. One year, when Gerald was four months old, we were camping in a tent at Mara Lake in the Okanagan. A big storm whipped up on the lake, strong enough to take out trees. We were hiding in our tent through it all, fortunately we were in the middle of a field and it didn’t last long. The campers parked among the trees closer to the beach were not as lucky, several had trees fall on them (the vehicles, not the people, thankfully.) I’ll never forget that trip.

The other strong memory I have from that holiday was staying among the trees (apricots) in an orchard turned campground. That’s what you call diversification. It was at the south end of Okanagan Lake on the eastern shore. It was pretty and different. It was hot too. So hot that my can of baby formula was wrecked. Who knew? I was a new mom with little baby food experience.

Of course, this also reminds me of our first summer camping trip about six years earlier. We were headed to Regina for a visit with Dave’s sister and we camped overnight in Jasper. It never crossed our minds to think that we would freeze to death in our tent in summer in the middle of the Rocky Mountain forest. We were fast learners, let me tell you. Not a whole lot of sleep that night. We travelled on hoping to stop for the night somewhere in Saskatchewan never realizing there would be no tress to speak of. We were spoiled with BC forest campgrounds. Not finding any trees, we opted for a motel room. We were more experienced on the return trip.

Lots of good camping experiences. I could share memories all night but I’d better quit.

I am doing well, in spite of the heat. Life is quiet around here. The biggest excitement currently, aside from the fence, is the bunny eating all the tender plants in the neighborhood. I have a feeling he’s alone and sticks pretty close to places he knows. Sad for us.

Have a great weekend.

Still praying God’s blessing and strength for you and your family.

♥ J

Photo by GEORGE DESIPRIS on Pexels.com

This and that July 22, 2021

I have no new suggestions today. Some days are just like that and I’ve decided I’m OK with it.

I think my goal for the moment needs to be – reduce the line up of books waiting to be read.

It’s gradually gotten out of hand and I’m finding it overwhelming, if I’m being honest. I can hear someone saying – it took you long enough. What can I say. I’m a sucker for books 🙂 Anyway, I purposely haven’t done a deep dive today looking for bargains.

Moving on,

The last number of weeks I’ve spent a significant amount of time watching podcasts and while I’ve enjoyed them I’m realizing there is a down side to this kind of indulgence. Many (not all) of the sites I’ve subscribed to are built around the state of world news. Between opinions and an over abundance of information there comes a point where enough is too much. I feel weighed down, and distracted. There are other things requiring my attention and I haven’t been able to do them justice.

This blog has been affected the most by this stealing of reading/writing time. My mind feels foggy and empty. It takes a good amount of thinking time to have something to say. It takes input too. The trouble with the podcasts is the political subject matter. I don’t write about politics and the abundance of input produces no fruit in my world.

Reading, on the other hand, always spurs some kind of usable thinking.

I’m going on a podcast diet, cutting way back on time spent and it’s helping. With more time devoted to reading, the fog seems to be lifting enough to make comments.

During last nights post, I found I’d inadvertently started a new read with the novella belonging between books 1 and 2 in the Culper Ring series. I was too far into it to avoid the spoiler so I went ahead and finished it. Going back to the beginning, I’m now half way through book one and while the novella has given away one aspect of the ending it hasn’t spoiled the whole book for me. It is still a good read with lots of unexpected action.

Another decision in the back-to-reading restrictive diet was concerning my TBR list of neglected Non-fiction downloads.

Earmarking an hour devoted to Non-fiction reading seemed like a reasonable way to make some headway. The Power of Writing It Down is my pick for current read and I’m almost to the end of the first chapter.

This read definitely takes more work, that’s for sure. The author packs every single page full with thoughts, concepts, and information. A number of things stood out for me, right from page one.

I need time to chew on them before I can make comment.

There was one thought towering above the rest, though.

Research shows that thought patterns and tasks performed thousand of times create a rut or neural pathway and without conscious thought the mind automatically goes there. It’s discouraging to think that without thought these ruts lead us to unhealthy places. On the plus side: research also shows that with conscious choosing of different, healthier paths, performed enough times, over time they can overwrite and replace the old unhealthy paths.

This idea resonates with me more than usual. I think it’s because, even before reading this book, I’ve found myself practicing new patterns of thought and actions this summer. I’ve noticed myself making different decisions and choices and I’m pretty happy thinking about what it means going forward. I’ve been praying for healing and it appears to be on the way.

Read and current reads

Happy Reading y’all

Read and enjoyed July 21, 2021

This was my favorite read of the week. A story full of family secrets.

Going in, I never would have guessed how far they extended.

It seemed like many of the secrets started with a particular tragedy. If that heart breaking event could have been prevented, life would have been so much different. That was the general opinion.

But would it have, really?

On the surface you would think so but further down the road, the truth of that seemed much less likely.

There was nothing predictable about this story. The secrets seemed to multiply as the story went on. Details were allowed to filter out a little at a time. In some ways it was frustrating but mostly it was appreciated.

The characters were well developed and one couldn’t help but be drawn into their emotional struggles.

I could never have predicted the ending. A couple of details, maybe, but not the overall picture. Very nice.

Things Left Unsaid

Amazon quote:

An emotional novel of family, friendship and forgiveness from Courtney Walsh, the New York Times bestselling author of Hometown Girl.

Lyndie St. James is thrilled that her best friend, Elle, is getting married but unprepared for the emotional storm of the wedding week and returning to her childhood summer home of Sweethaven. The idyllic cottage community harbors some of her best—and worst—memories. It’s not only the tragic death of her childhood friend Cassie that has haunted her for ten years, it’s the other secrets she’s buried that have kept her from moving on.

But Lyndie isn’t the only one with secrets.

Cassie’s mother, father and brother, still struggling with the loss, have been drifting further and further apart. And Elle herself, the last to see Cassie alive, carries an impossible burden of guilt. Now reunited, each of them has a choice: to reveal the truths of that night or continue to live in its shadow. That means embarking on a personal journey of the heart—to escape the darkness and all its regrets and to finally come to terms with the past and, especially, with each other.

******************************

I would definitely read this book again.

*******************************

Currently I’m reading a book I shouldn’t be, I don’t think.

It’s a short story, I’m already 1/4 of the way through. I’m not entirely sure what is going on yet as details are being doled out sparingly.

Pulling up the cover to include in this post, I realize my mistake. It’s a novella, meant to be a bridge between book 1 and 2 in the series. Oops.

Book 1 begins only 10 years earlier. Now, I’m not sure if I should stop and read book 1 first or carry on and take my chances.

I think I will be taking my chances.

I’m intrigued with the novella, I’m looking forward to book 1 being just as engaging.

I’ll let you know how it goes.

Happy Reading!

Confessions of an abuse survivor

I decided to name this post, and any future posts like it, in a way that would provide a heads up for anyone wishing to avoid such emotional discussions. I’m not planning on raw, uncomfortable, tell-alls, I know difficult discussions can be had in a civilized manner.

Anyway, today’s post doesn’t include any of that.

This could be a this-and-that kind of day except my thoughts have been heavier than that this week. Confession seems to be a more appropriate label.

I debated including the term abuse survivor but decided it gives context to where my head is at with the topics. There is nothing frivolous in my contemplations.

Enough of that.

So here’s the thing I’m trying to figure out. Why?

That’s what I need to know. Why?

I haven’t come up with an answer, so far, and I doubt this writing exercise will be all that revealing but I have to try.

I’m reluctant to tell you what I’m referring to because when I think of putting it into words, in my mind it sounds silly. I’m afraid you will dismiss it as such if I tell you what I’m thinking.

So, partial confession. As I’m contemplating the why of my reluctance to take on a certain task I’m wondering if maybe a trigger is behind it. What thought or emotion is holding me back?

So, here’s the thing. In the last year or so, because of interviews and the like, I’ve been exposed to non fiction books, mostly related to my life experience with abuse. They struck me as useful in my healing journey and I put out a significant amount of money to obtain them.

I was excited to have them, paid full price for most of them, and yet I can’t seem to make myself take the time to read them.

Were they just another bright idea that didn’t survive the light of day?

Would my reluctance to tackle the challenge stem from deep insecurities? The fear of failure?

Could the reticence be linked to anticipated emotional responses to painful subjects?

Are there unidentified triggers going on?

I’ve faced head on the physical abuse attributable to my dad. At the same time, I will admit I don’t want to think about or deal with the emotional abuse stemming from my mother or my marriage.

Is that what this is about?

I’ve heard it said we must ask ourselves this question – Do you want to be healed, really want to be healed?

When we honestly ask ourselves this question we might be surprised to find that the answer is no. The price we would have to pay to find healing could seem too high.

If I’m really honest, I think when it comes to my mother and my marriage, my heart says the price is too high.

I do really want to be healed. I’m not acting like it.

I will keep on thinking and praying about this.

In the meantime…

Some of the books in the lineup.

The one I’m considering at the moment is The Power of Writing It Down

If you made it this far, thanks for listening.

A plug for Jerry Jenkins

Just so you know who he is…

***************************

He’s giving away FREE writing advice so I doubt he will mind me sharing parts of today’s email with you.

The reason I’m inspired to share this? It’s a message I often wish I could deliver to promising authors. Their writing would be so much better if they learned this secret.

Well, I guess it’s not much of a secret, but there are still those who have yet to discover the difference this practice can make.

His email is long so I will pick and chose, to give you the idea.

****************

His email is jerry@jerryjenkins.com

Jerry says…

If I could give you ONLY one writing tip…

So here it is: Avoid on-the-nose writing.

This is one of the most common mistakes I see in otherwise good writing.

(I left out his next comment – a really long and detailed example of on-the-nose writing)

Here’s how that scene should be rendered:

Paige’s phone chirped. It was her fiancé, Jim, and he told her something about one of their best friends that made her forget where she was.

“Cancer?” she whispered, barely able to speak. “I didn’t even know Alyson was sick. Did you?”

Trust me, not one reader is going to wonder how she knew the caller was Jim.

We don’t need to be told that the chirp told her she had a call (duh), that her phone is in her purse, that her purse is over her shoulder, that she has to open it to get her phone, push a button to take the call, put the phone to her ear to hear and to speak, identify herself to the caller, be informed who it is…

…you get the point.

If you’ve fallen into on-the-nose writing (and we all have), don’t beat yourself up. It shows you have the ability to mirror real life.

That’s nice. Now quit it.

Leave that to the amateurs.

Separate yourself from the competition by noticing the important stuff.

Dig deep.

Go past the surface.

Mine your emotions, your mind and heart and soul, and remember how it felt when you got news like that about a friend or loved one.

Don’t distract with minutia. Give the readers the adventure they signed up for when they chose to read your story.

******************

Jerry has a free workshop coming up if you are interested in hearing more from him…

P.S. Watch your inbox Thursday around noon Central for my next email. We’ll talk about what to do if you post your writing online and no one responds.

P.P.S. If you liked today’s little writing tip, you’ll love this: Join me Monday at noon or 7 p.m. Central, when I’m hosting a special FREE workshop How I Write Bestselling NovelsYou can reserve your seat by clicking here—only 3000 spots available per session!

********************

Sign up for his email, he’s always giving away free advice.

And… he knows how to WRITE.

Most of all, remember today’s writing tip.

as promised, Chautona Havig free and bargain books for this week

Author Chautona Havig has a FREE book-a-day happening this week in an effort to cool us off during this hot summer we are having. Each book is free for two days.

Here is yesterday and today. Both Free.

Next will be the bargain books

Hmmmm. I’ve checked them out and they are not showing up as bargains, yet.

I’ll check again tomorrow. Sometimes things don’t go through as requested. Hopefully it will be resolved.

In the meantime there is a popular collection on pre-order. There was a move on, trying to get the numbers up enough to be on a best sellers list. I’m not sure if it happened, maybe we can still help them out. I’ve done my part, ordering my copy back in December. Many of these authors are on my favorites list so I’m excited about it. Order your copy to help out too.

This was what the December version of the cover looked like.

This is the newest image, which is nice because you can gain a little inspiration by seeing the contributing authors.

Save The Date will be released on September 14, 2021

*************************

That’s all I have for now

Happy reading y’all

Bargain books July 19, 2021 Part two

I’m not sure how it happened. Despite seeing a number of tempting books we only ended up with two. I just had to go back for another look. I found two MORE.

I’m a little unsure about one of them but not enough to cut it from the lineup.

Since we started the day with Christmas, we will continue and start this post that way as well. I know and like some of the authors in this collection and it made the selection choice easy. This book is on pre-order and will be released in October.

Christmas in Mistletoe Square: Christmas Romance Novella

Amazon quote:

Christmas is in the air in Kedgewick Creek, North Carolina, at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Will romance find four couples in the month of December or will the pressure to keep the festivities Mistletoe Square is known for keep these couples apart?

Find out in this collection of four novellas from inspirational authors Pepper Basham, Cara Putman, Janine Rosche, and Teresa Tysinger.

****************************

This next book is a complete change of subject and will be a deep dive by the looks of it. I’m excited to see what this one is about.

Things Left Unsaid 

Amazon quote:

An emotional novel of family, friendship and forgiveness from Courtney Walsh, the New York Times bestselling author of Hometown Girl.

Lyndie St. James is thrilled that her best friend, Elle, is getting married but unprepared for the emotional storm of the wedding week and returning to her childhood summer home of Sweethaven. The idyllic cottage community harbors some of her best—and worst—memories. It’s not only the tragic death of her childhood friend Cassie that has haunted her for ten years, it’s the other secrets she’s buried that have kept her from moving on.

But Lyndie isn’t the only one with secrets.

Cassie’s mother, father and brother, still struggling with the loss, have been drifting further and further apart. And Elle herself, the last to see Cassie alive, carries an impossible burden of guilt. Now reunited, each of them has a choice: to reveal the truths of that night or continue to live in its shadow. That means embarking on a personal journey of the heart—to escape the darkness and all its regrets and to finally come to terms with the past and, especially, with each other.

****************************

This next book is in a similar vein but I’m not sure if the dive is as deep.

When It’s All Said and Done

Amazon quote:

As sisters, they couldn’t be more different, but can they count on each other when it’s all said and done?

Ruth Webber’s only focus in life is saving the business her late father left behind and, since her capricious younger sister doesn’t care about family legacy, she must do it alone. When a long weekend trip presents an opportunity to advance the family interests, Ruth won’t let anything stand in her way, not even her sister’s drama or the smile of a handsome new friend.

Despite what Ruth thinks, family means a great deal to Angela, but the unexpected loss of her husband ended her dreams of having one of her own. Now, her only chance of building a new dream lies in her writing career, if she has the strength to act on it. All she needs is a weekend away to clear her thoughts.

****************************

This one is a different flavor all together. Except, is it really? Maybe not.

Defending My Heart – Clean, Christian Football Romance: (A Texas Tornados Single Author Sports Romance Book 1)

Amazon quote:

The man who broke her heart. The second chance she’s not sure if she wants.

Emmitt Brown’s demons are even bigger than he is, and as a defensive lineman for a pro-football team, that’s something. When the team captain tasks his defensive line to go home for Christmas and get rid of their biggest past regret, Emmitt finds himself returning to the small town he grew up in to find the woman he never should have left. Too bad she hates him and tells him to go away.

Mia Carter can’t believe Emmitt Brown is back in town. She does not need this right now. Especially since he’s been the ghost who won’t leave her conscience alone for the past five years and especially since she recently lost her husband. But when the pro football player steps up and offers to help her son fight cancer, she finds herself reluctantly agreeing.

****************************

OK. This is definitely It for today. Anything else will have to wait for tomorrow.

I will stay far far away, there will be no more looking and books.

Happy Reading!

Free and bargain books July 19, 2021 Chautona Havig

One of our regular authors had a brilliant thought in the middle of the hot spell. She was dreaming of snow, lots of it, enough to swim in. One thing led to another, in her mind, and she came up with book deals on her Christmas books.

Her name is Chautona Havig, and she has so much going on with this idea that I am going to quote the relevant parts of her email.

Here we go…

I set all my Christmas books either on sale or to go FREE this week.

No joke. Merry Christmas in July to me… and you. And honestly, I’m going to open up Liz Johnson’s Christmas at the Red Door Inn and read that one myself. A blizzard sounds pretty amazing right now.

So here’s the deal… or maybe I should say, here are the deals… 😉

Free books!

  • Monday (that’s today): 31 Kisses
  • Tuesday: The Second Noel
  • Wednesday: Carol and the Belles
  • Thursday: Advent
  • Friday: Merri’s Christmas Mission
  • Saturday: The Ghosts of New Cheltenham
  • Sunday: Silenced Knight

Each book is on sale for two days. So 31 Kisses will be free Monday and Tuesday, The Second Noel on Tuesday and Wednesday, and so forth.

This is Monday’s book

When one plus one equals thirty-one…

It happens every day.
Guy meets grandpa–and girl.
Guy knocks grandpa off ladder
Guy kisses girl to make it “all better.”
Every day.
For a month.
Just your normal, average, all-American romance…

Meet Chessie and Carson. She goes “all out” for Christmas (and every other holiday including Columbus Day, Cinco de Mayo, and Flag Day); he doesn’t own a single thing that could be considered decorative–unless you count the stickers he stuck to his dresser back when he was three.

Neither of them have ever had a serious relationship; both are opposed to frivolous expressions of affection. How on earth did they get tangled up in a “kiss-a-day-during-December” pact?

******************

Here are the bargain books… They won’t be on sale until Tuesday so I’ll mention them again tomorrow. Here we go again with her words …

AT THE SAME TIME…

The following books are on sale for just $0.99 starting tomorrow (#becauseKindleRules) and will be through next Thursday! SQUEE!

  • 12 Dates of Christmas
  • Christmas Party in a Box 1
  • Christmas Party in a Box 2
  • Christmas Party in a Box 3
  • Christmas Party in a box 4
  • Christmas Stalkings
  • Snow-Crossed Letters
  • Tarnished Silver
  • Sand & Mistletoe
  • The Matchmakers of Holly Circle

**********************

May these seasonal books provide a little respite, at least the illusion of cool, on these hot days of summer.

It was predicted here as hot for today but so far it’s only in the low 20s Celsius. We have a cloud cover of smoke from nearby forest fires, maybe that’s a contributing factor to the lower temps.

Whatever it is we’ll take it.

Enjoy the deals.

Happy Reading.