Friday, October 13, 2017

The RONE Awards---Cross Your Fingers For Me!

I'm in California at the InD'Scribe Conference and the RONE Awards are tomorrow night. If you recall, my novel, The Captain, is up for the RONE Award for Best Suspense. Woohoo! So, I need you to cross your fingers and toes for me!
I'll be sure to post tons of pictures when I get back. (Or you'll see them on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram if you follow me there.)

Wish me luck!

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Movie Review for The Stray & A Freedom Factor Spotlight!

I was so excited to see that Mitch Davis who directed The Other Side of Heaven, a favorite movie of ours, had a new movie coming out called The Stray. We all sat down as a family to watch it.

It starts out with the Davis family in California and they're struggling. Dad is working 24/7 and their oldest son Christian is being bullied at school. Everyone is stressed and frazzled. Out of the blue, a stray dog appears to help Christian and his bullies and since Dad had suggested they get a dog and mom said they could only if God sent a stray, they decide to keep the one that was sent to them. They name him Pluto.  But things at home aren't really improving and when their two year old daughter goes missing when everyone is busy and not paying attention, the family makes some big changes. The question is, are the changes too late? Can they reconnect again, or will their chance for happiness be snatched away just when it's within their reach?

I thought this was an inspirational show about what's really important in a family and how much a dog can come to mean to their humans. There are some really touching moments and my six year old cried his eyes out at the end which made me misty-eyed! We were able to talk a lot about how much we love our pets and then we gave ours an extra love after seeing The Stray. This is a very sweet show that will pull on your heartstrings!

Get more information here

Here is the official trailer:

Here's the teaser:

The Stray tells the inspiring true story of a stray dog, "Pluto," who appears from out of nowhere just in time to save a family that is falling apart. Pluto is not only a guard dog--he's a guardian angel. Sometimes help comes in the most unlikely forms. Sometimes prayers are answered in the most unlike ways. Sometimes one dog can change everything.

The Freedom Factor

Have you heard of the Freedom Factor? Stan Ellsworth, best known for his work on American Ride, is helping to spread the message of better understanding the U.S. Constitution. As an inspired document, it is important to know what it protects and what its purpose is. Especially in an increasingly high tension political climate, every effort should be made to unite Americans on the three things the Constitution was designed to protect: peace, prosperity and freedom. The Freedom Factor is trying to give out 100 million pocket Constitutions to give everyone the chance to learn more. You can help!

You can find more information here

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Book Review And A Giveaway!

I started reading Traci Hunter Abramson's Saint Squad series years ago and I'm always happy to see another book comes out that features them. It's nice to catch up on previous characters. Her new book, Safe House, has the Saint Squad in it, but several new characters as well from the guardians as their stories intertwine.

This one highlights Renee Niezen, a CIA operative who gets pulled into an investigation of who is killing off the guardians support people. She's an analyst, not a field agent, but can't resist her friend's Charlotte's pleas for help. Unfortunately, Kade, one of the last guardians around, has taken matters into his own hands and gone to the Saint Squad for help--in a very odd way. (If I were the Saint Squad, I don't know if I'd help him after their initial introduction!) But of course, they do. Anyone associated with the guardians is quickly finding themselves dead and it's a race against time to find out who is powerful enough to coordinate such a feat. Danger and mistrust is definitely the theme of the day.

Not surprisingly, the enemy always seems to be one step ahead of them and Renee quickly becomes a target from the moment she agrees to meet and help the guardians. Kade becomes obligated to protect her, another complication he is not happy about, but he quickly develops a grudging respect for Renee. But the closer they get to the truth, the easier it is to see that they could lose everything---including the feelings developing between them.

I really enjoyed the taut pacing of the story and the way the author draws the reader in. The plot is unique, but plausible, and there are plenty of twists and turns to keep anyone up at night reading. There are a lot of characters and several points of view offered which can make it hard to keep everyone straight, but it also allows the reader to get into the head of all the main characters. This is a fast-paced, suspenseful read, and fans of Ms. Abramson's will enjoy spending time with the Saint Squad again.

Be sure to scroll all the way down and enter the giveaway!

You can download your Kindle copy here

Here's the back copy:

The guardians, the shadowy heroes of the top-secret program designed to protect members of the most elite government organizations, are being hunted down one by one. There is a single explanation: a traitor must be embedded somewhere in their midst. But if they themselves are the target, who will protect them?

CIA operative Renee Niezen has heard tales of the guardians, though she’s never really believed in their existence—until she is approached by Charlotte, an old friend who desperately needs her help to stop the systematic destruction of the guardian program. Renee accepts the plea for assistance, but not everyone is thrilled to have her on the team. Kade—one of the last guardians standing—is unimpressed with Renee’s qualifications and turns instead to the legendary Saint Squad for help. But when Renee is caught in the crosshairs, Kade must set aside his antagonism for the woman in order to protect her. Their grudging alliance soon develops into much more—but before the pair can examine their feelings, their investigation takes a dramatic twist. With lives on the line, Renee and Kade must use their spy training at every turn as they draw dangerously close to the shocking truth.

Blog Tour Schedule:

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Hawaii Five-O Recap & Review: When The Team Gets A Dog

Well, our task force is growing.

We start out with a sweet dog going on a mission with his DEA agent handler. Unfortunately, the mission goes south, his handler is murdered and the dog is shot pursuing the killer. He gets a good bite in, though, but it's still pretty sad to see the bond between the dog and handler and then have the guy die.

Cut to Steve's house. (Is it me, or does it look smaller these days?) Steve is making coffee when he gets a visitor knocking on his door. Surprise! It's Chin's replacement! He doesn't say he's a poor man's Chin Ho Kelly, though, but instead says his name is Junior Reigns. (He literally looks like he's fifteen years old and has an adorable baby face.) Babyface says Steve's diving buddy Dave talked about Steve and his task force and Babyface wants to work there! Steve says no, so he walks away with sort of a sad smile.

Steve's phone is constantly ringing this ep and he gets a call and heads out. He ends up in the car with Danny discussing why Danny wants to ship Jersey water to Hawaii for the Italian restaurant. (It has minerals from old pipes that make it red and perfect for pizza-making. Ew.) Steve vetoes the idea because Danny didn't consider his feelings. Danny says Steve's a sensitive flower, but when Kono and Chin get brought up, Danny has a sad face and Steve points out that Danny is the sensitive flower now. (At least this was more of a discussion/argument instead of a one-sided whinefest, so that was good.)

They end up at the port where the DEA agent was killed. All the shooters got away (really? It looked like the DEA guy shot at least one, but maybe his drug smuggling buddies carried him away) two DEA agents were killed, and there's one service dog unaccounted for. (What? They can't find the dog? The place is crawling with HPD and DEA) Of course, Steve goes to look and immediately sees a blood trail and finds the wounded animal. Good thing HPD called him in! They might have never found that dog.

Duke and a head DEA guy, Agent Reed, (who looks like he should have retired about ten years ago. My grandpa looks younger than him!) update Steve and Danny on all the cocaine on the island recently and Agent Lazio's work trying to break open a smuggling ring. Lazio got the tip, and the team got ambushed. Steve tells AgentGrandpa he wants to talk to Lazio's CI. Meanwhile, Danny and Tani stay behind to check the containers at the port for drugs, but there's so many, it's going to take awhile. Steve asks Jerry to look for any repeat shipments that match up to the spike in drug activity that the island has seen every six weeks. Oh, and to check on Eddie the dog who is in surgery.

Eddie gets the bullet taken out while Jerry looks on. (Do they really have observation areas to watch surgeries from?) He leaves his name for the nurse to call when she knows something. While Jerry is at the vet, Steve and Grover are watching some kids on the soccer field with a cute soccer mom on the sidelines. Turns out the CI is the soccer mom. They sit her down and shes's overwhelmed. She got addicted to prescription meds and went to the street stuff. When she got popped the third time and was facing mandatory jailtime and losing her kids, Lazio stepped in and helped her get rehab and keep custody, so she became his informant. Her dealer, Manny, told her a shipment was about to come in. McGrover want to talk to Manny, and it turns out when he's not dealing drugs, he's a dishwasher! (Gotta keep an eye on those dishwashers.)

Grover recaps in the car what they know about the case so far until Danny calls and says they found a container with a cut lock and are checking it out. McGarrett tells him to log all the people coming in or out because if the drug haul is as big as they think it is, someone is coming back for it. Dun, dun, dun. (This, my friends, is called foreshadowing.)

McGrover make it to the restaurant where Manny works, but he didn't come into work today. The boss, Roger Niles, has his address in his office, though, and they walk back to get it, admiring the restaurant along the way. Grover tells Roger that Steve wants to open a restaurant and Roger tells him it's stressful, lots of risk, and his old partner died after eighteen months of it and he was only forty-two. Steve is forty-one. Uh oh. He does give Steve restaurant tip, though. The food is the loss leader. A wine list is the key to turning a healthy profit. Has Steve applied for a liquor license? From the look on Steve's face, it doesn't look like it. (Don't worry, the Restaurant of Dreams will have lots of Jersey water instead!)

McGrover head over to Manny's house and find him twitching on the floor, a needle in his arm. Steve starts CPR, but he gives up after a while and says Manny didn't make it. (Where's the ambulance? Sheesh. I never want to have an emergency in that part of town.) They both stare at Manny, noticing the needle was in left arm, but since his watch is on his right hand, he's probably left handed. Who shoots up with their non-dominant hand and doesn't have any tracks in his arms? He was set up. Poor DishwasherDrugDealerManny. Noelani comes along finally to confirm their theory. Manny had a massive heroin toxicity and a head wound and was definitely killed by someone else. They probably just missed his killer! Late to the party again.

Steve's phone saves the day again when Jerry calls with some good news and better news.  Eddie the dog is out of surgery and eating, so that's a good sign. Also, even better, some foreign blood out of Eddie's mouth (ew) matched a druggie named Jesse Burman. Jerry sends the picture to Danny and Tani says she saw that guy! (I'm sure she meant to say, she logged that guy in just like Steve said!) He left in a truck full of cargo not ten minutes ago. Uh oh. The team has been bamboozled! Those sneaky drug smugglers opened a random container to throw them off.

Tani and Danny race off and track Jessie and his truck. Unfortunately for Jessie and his crew, they are terrible shots and Tani pretty much picks them all off while hanging out of a swerving car. (I guess she wasn't just a pretty face in a bikini after all. She can take people out like nobody's business!) The truck goes off the road after the driver is killed, but a wounded Jessie flees on foot. Danny leads the chase into the woods, but when everyone goes their separate ways (now that song is in my head!) he doesn't see Jessie at all and instead hears four shots fired. Jessie is dead and guess who killed him? AgentGrandpa says he had to do it, Jessie was going to shoot him. (Hmmm... )

After all the shooting is over, they find a huge shipment of wine in the back of the truck, and guess what? Cocaine can be transported inside and then turned back into powder form. Danny takes out the bill of lading and it's a familiar name. Steve goes back to Roger's  restaurant, guns drawn. (That Roger, acting all nice before. That just goes to show that you should never trust a guy trying to sell you a $500 bottle of wine.) Well, now he's gone and taken all the stuff in his safe with him. (Oddly, Roger has a picture of a cow and a pig on his office wall, with different cuts of meat on it. I mean, I know he owns a restaurant, but his office was sort of nice. Too nice for a meat cut picture of bovines and swine, in my opinion.)

Time for high fives all around! With the amount of cocaine in the wine bottles, the task force has busted the biggest Hawaiian drug haul worth 24 million dollars. Tani is all yeah, but I wish we had the guy behind it all. (If wishes were dollars, my friend . . .) But, RestaurantRoger is nowhere to be found, and his wine shipments coincide with the spiked drug activity, so he's probably the guy Tani's looking for. Everyone at the Talking Table contemplates that for a moment until Grover has Steve come outside. Babyface is there washing Steve's truck. He feels bad for the guy and says that Babyface should meet him there at noon sharp the next day and to put his car washing stuff away. *coughsuckupcough*

Steve's phone rings again with another exciting lead on the case. (Seriously, without all his phone leads, this case would have gone nowhere.) Noelani did the fastest autopsy ever on Jessie the druggie and you'll never guess. He was executed by AgentGrandpa with a close range shot to the heart. Uh oh. Cue to a grisly scene of AgentGrandpa shooting more two more agents to get his hands on the impounded wine filled with cocaine. (Why is it always the ones who are close to retirement? I guess pensions must be worse than I thought.) (Also, why does he kill everyone else, but leave the soccer mom alive? Weird.) HPD is on top of it all though, and fairly quick-like find the empty van.

Steve's phone is on FIRE with leads and saves the day again when Jerry calls to say he found some undeveloped property of RestaurantRoger's and it's in a remote location. So, you know, they could be processing the wine for the cocaine there. Since it's such a large location (five city blocks) the team heads there with SWAT and HPD. Oh, and Eddie apparently came out of major surgery and the anesthesia wore off, so he could come along, too! Back in the field already. That's dedication. Before they go in, Steve gives everyone instructions for the search, then tell them to pat Eddie's head for luck. (It was a DEA thing.) Grover isn't too excited, since he's not a dog person, but he does it. Steve kisses Eddie and says go get them. Awww.

Eddie gets sent in with a camera on his back and his wound doesn't seem to hurt him at all or slow him down. The team follows and they find the drug operation. RestaurantRoger is there and AgentGrandpa! The team moves in and a gunfight ensues. The bad guys are generally terrible shots, but Eddie does end up saving Grover from a shooter he didn't see. AgentGrandpa runs from Eddie, wounded, but still trying to escape. When Eddie's done with him, he's taken out on a stretcher really bloody. (Double ew.) Grover is talking baby talk to Eddie, telling him he's a good doggie and he'll get a steak from Uncle Lou. Awww. He's not a dog person, but he's a "thisdog" person now.

At the pat on the back news conference Duke says that this was a sophisticated drug operation and were put out of business by brave law enforcement and Five-O, seizing millions of dollars in cocaine. (They don't mention that Head DEA AgentGrandpa was part of that operation, though.) And we cut to a sad scene of the flag being folded over Agent Lazio's coffin while Steve and Eddie look on. (Steve is wearing his blue shirt in that shot, though, probably to help us feel better. Thank you wardrobe people.)

Babyface comes into Five-O headquarters and is pretty impressed. Steve introduces him to Duke and says he needs to join the Academy to become a cop before he can join Five-O. Babyface isn't pleased and says he doesn't want to be a cop, he wants to work for Steve. No dice. Steve says he has to graduate from the academy and then they'll bring him on. Promise. (Maybe Babyface could do like Tani did and get kicked out of the Academy, and then they'll want him. Or maybe they want him to look like he shaves before they bring him on. Seriously, he looks so young!)

Danny is sitting on Steve's cupboards talking about Eddie and how Steve likes him since he's chopping free range chicken for him and putting it in favorite cereal bowl. Isn't Steve a cat guy? Yeah, cats are still a far superior animal, sophisticated and cunning, more agile, and self-sufficient, but Eddie has grown on him and he's a sweet dog. (Awww again.) But Steve called Danny over to tell him that Adam came to visit. Kono's case went federal and she's not coming back anytime soon so he's flying out to be with her. Sad faces. Things are changing. (But hey, they have SassyTani, Babyface, and Eddie now! Who needs Kono and Chin!) Steve calls the dog to dinner, but he's gone and they can't find him. Steve figures out where he is and heads to the cemetery where he's lying on Lazio's grave. (*sniffle* I'm not crying. You're crying!)

Eddie made it a sweet episode with tender and sensitive flower feelings. Did you watch? What did you think?

Monday, October 9, 2017

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving!

Today is Canadian Thanksgiving and I am celebrating with my family. The turkey is in the oven (and my house smells amazing right now!) And the pies are waiting to bake.

As I have been thinking about what I am thankful for, there are so many things. I have been blessed with a loving and supportive family. I have children and grandchildren that I love with all my heart. A home, plenty of food, and a passion for writing books that I've been able to use in a way that brings me so much happiness. I've met so many incredible people through my writing and I count many of them friends, including you. So, today, when you sit down to your dinner, I hope you'll count a few of your blessings and maybe, when you get to your friends, you'll include me. Thank you all!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, October 6, 2017

A Freebie Friday for Romance Fans!

Today's Freebie Friday is A Fortune Cafe. I have read and loved this whole unique series! I'm excited to go back and reread this one.

You can download your free Kindle copy here

Here's the back copy:

Welcome to Tangerine Street

Tangerine Street is a must-see tourist stop with a colorful mix of one-of-a-kind boutiques, unique restaurants, eclectic museums, quaint bookstores, and exclusive bed-and-breakfasts. The Fortune Café, situated in the middle of this charming collection of shops and cafés on Tangerine Street, is a Chinese restaurant unlike any other because, well, to be honest, the fortunes found in the cookies all come true…

MIS-FORTUNE: Emma, a waitress at The Fortune Café will do anything to avoid opening a fortune cookie. Each fortune is rumored to somehow magically come true. Being a girl grounded in reality, she doesn’t have time for that kind of nonsense. But when trying to prevent a food fight at the café, Emma accidentally cracks open a fortune cookie: “Look around, love is trying to catch you.” If there is one thing that Harrison, her former best friend in high school is good at, it’s catching her unaware.

LOVE, NOT LUCK: Lucy has always been lucky . . . until her parents meet her fiancé’s parents at a disastrous lunch at The Fortune Café, and she breaks her lucky jade necklace. Even worse, her fortune cookie reveals that “True love is for the brave, not the lucky.” How is she supposed to read that? She’s always considered it lucky how she met her fiancé. But after breaking her necklace, Lucy’s luck takes a dive. And when her fiancé dumps her, the only person she can turn to is Carter, the unluckiest guy she knows.

TAKEOUT: Stella is content in her new life of taking over her mom’s jewelry shop. No more boyfriend to worry about, and as long as she stays busy, she doesn’t have to dwell on her non-existent love life. When Evan comes into the shop with his young daughter, Stella is charmed. But she is reluctant to complicate her straightforward life, so when she reads her fortune after ordering takeout from The Fortune Café, she completely ignores it. After all, how can a fortune as vague as “Do the thing you fear and love is certain,” apply to her?

Thursday, October 5, 2017

The Forgotten Carols Tickets Are Now On Sale!

I am so excited to see The Forgotten Carols again this year. Last year was my first time seeing it, and I really loved it. There was just such a great spirit of Christmas around the entire show, with the story, the music, and the characters. We definitely want to make this a family Christmas tradition.

Here's a little more information:

The Forgotten Carols stage performance tells the story of Connie Lou, a nurse whose empty life is changed when Uncle John, a new patient she is attending, recounts the story of Christ’s birth as told by little known characters in the nativity story. The accounts from the Innkeeper, the Shepherd and others help the nurse discover what the world has forgotten about Christmas, ultimately encouraging her to open her heart to the joy of this special season.

Message from Michael McLean:

THE FORGOTTEN CAROLS has been a gift I first received back in 1991 when the book and accompanying music was written and released to the public. As with all good gifts, particularly one like The Forgotten Carols, comes a desire to share it with others…with the hope that they will “receive” the gift as I did; Feeling the message and the love of the season in the context of the story and songs. When I first started “performing” the story I thought it was my gift to the audience, but then I discovered that the more I tried to give it away the more it came back to me…a hundred fold. 

Being able to bring the story to life with a team of talented people that truly have become “family” is another part of the gift that has profoundly blessed my life. But WHAT MOST SURPRISES ME is how the presentation of this story with songs has grown, evolved and taught me things in the language that resonates so deeply with me. Story & Song. A couple of days ago, quite out of the blue, A NEW SONG, maybe we could call it a New Carol, just arrived. I sat at the piano and it just poured out of me. It really touched me because it captures what I think Uncle John would want most for Connie Lou (and the entire world, for that matter). Just this morning I envisioned how this new carol could be presented during this year’s TOUR and I got goosebumps. I can’t wait to share this gift I just received. So, if you ask what The Forgotten Carols means to me, it means RECEIVING then SHARING then DISCOVERING the meaning of the gift, and then RECEIVING MORE, then SHARING MORE and then DISCOVERING more.

Ticket Information:

You can purchase your tickets here if you live in Utah, Idaho, Arizona, Washington, Texas, and New Mexico!