Thursday, December 31, 2015

So Excited For New Year's Eve!

photo credit: Life (23/365) via photopin (license)

The chocolate fountain is ready with all the stuff to dip in it, the shrimp plate is in the fridge with the cheeseball and sparkling cider. The movies and board games are ready to go. It's going to be a fun-filled Bellon family New Year's Eve party!

May you ring in the year with all your favorite fun, people and food!

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Writer Goal Wednesday

photo credit: plnaugle via photopin cc 

I've been sitting here looking over my goals for 2016. Some of them are totally fun. Most of them will take a lot of work. But I like how things turned out in 2015 when I did baby steps. When I was accountable to you every week on my progress. So I think I'm going to do that again in 2016.

So, what's on my goal list?
  • Release of the second book in my Griffin Force series, The Captain.
  • Release of the companion novella to Pocket Full of Posies
  • Release of audio books for the rest of the Hostage Negotiation series.
  • Do something fun on the blog every month.
I think the new year is going to be awesome! Have you made any goals for next year?

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Stuck In A Snowbank

Since it's still Christmas vacation, I've still got all my family home. Today, however, I was going to escape the madness, . . . er, the wonderful together time, and go to lunch with my friend.  There has been quite a bit of snowfall lately, though, and the roads weren't great, but I wasn't worried. I was born in Canada! I can drive in all kinds of snow and still drink my hot chocolate in one hand!

Except for today.

My innate Canadian proficiency for driving in the snow took a big hit today when I went to pick up my friend for lunch. I pulled out of her driveway and the car slid on some ice and we ended in a snowdrift. It didn't look too bad, so I tried to back up and go forward to rock myself out of it, but that just slid me further into the snowbank and then I was really stuck. So, what else could I do but laugh and call my long-suffering husband and son? Thankfully they came and dug us out and we were still able to go to lunch. (I am a very lucky woman in the husband and son department).

When we were through with lunch and I dropped her off, my friend said, "Don't pull into my driveway again. Just let me off in the middle of the street." (I'm sure she didn't mean to stab me in the heart of my snow-skills driving confidence, but dang!) As I drove away, I was wondering what could have caused such a crazy thing to happen to this Canadian girl? Does living in the States slowly drain me of my winter driving skills every Canadian is born with? Is it because there are no Tim Horton's in my state, with their magical mystical donut holes?

Speaking of donuts, maybe I'll go do some in the school parking lot (make a snowman, if you get my drift.) ("Drift" see what I did there? Haha) just to be sure.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Book Review: Saints and Spies

Today's book review is Saints and Spies, by Jordan McCollum. This one is a tight murder mystery, that includes LDS characters, and it is definitely one you won't want to start before bed because you'll be up all night reading!

Molly Malone is such a great character. She finds her parish priest murdered and is trying to do a little investigating to find out who did it. She has investigative experience, but there are so many players involved as she tries to narrow things down. Then the new priest, Father Tim arrives and she wants to protect him---if only she wasn't so attracted to him! Molly's life is one complication after another, but you can't help loving her.

Zach is an LDS FBI agent posing as Father Tim and he's on a time crunch to find out about the mob activities in the parish. Molly is a helpful thorn in his side at first, and it doesn't hurt that she's someone Zach could truly come to love---if he was himself and not undercover. So many problems when you're trying not to fall in love and bring down the mob at the same time!

I really enjoyed the banter with this couple and how they dealt with the issues between them. There was happiness tempered with angst and their romance really had some sigh-worthy moments. The murder mystery was also well-done and there were plenty of twists and turns I wasn't expecting. The best part of the book, however, was how both the romance and the mystery meshed into a tight plot. The characters had depth, the Irish side of it wasn't overdone, and this was a book that kept me turning pages to find out how it would end.

Ms. McCollum was a Whitney award nominee with her Spy Another Day series and I think this new series will definitely follow suit!

Get your Kindle copy here for $4.99

Here's the back copy:

When she finds her priest murdered, Molly Malone, secretary of their Catholic parish, vows to never let it happen again. She’ll use the full force of her Irish will, and her previous stint on the Irish police force, to protect the new priest from the congregation’s rumors of criminal activity.

Falling in love wasn’t part of her plan. However, young, handsome and—dare she even think it?—flirtatious, Father Tim O’Rourke is nothing she expected. But Father Tim is also nothing like he seems to Molly: he’s Special Agent Zach Saint, an LDS FBI agent undercover to root out the mob that’s hiding in the parish.

And Molly isn’t helping: every time Zach gets close to the mob, Molly manages to get in the way. Falling for her is the last thing he needs. Now Zach must find the murderer and catch the mobsters before his feelings for Molly blow his cover and add another murder or two to the mobsters’ docket.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Friday Freebie

Today's Friday Freebie (I know, I know, it's Saturday, but we missed it yesterday due to Christmas and who doesn't love something free for Christmas!) is a romance by Sheralyn Pratt called The Kiss that Launched 1000 Gifs.  I am totally in the mood for some fun and sassy romance and this sounds like just the thing!

Here's the back copy:

Each weekday from 2:00-4:00 p.m., Grace and Ashton cohost Battle of the Sexes, a radio program arguing the he-said/she-said issues of the day. Their fiery debates often have listeners wondering if there’s more to their relationship than just talk, even though Grace has been dating Phillip, Mr. Tall, Dark, and Perfect, since long before she ever met Ashton Miller.

Yet when news comes that Battle of the Sexes is on the bubble for cancellation, Grace and Ashton need to step up their efforts to engage their audience to keep the show alive. When a charity organization approaches them and proposes that the two of them kiss for a fund raiser, Grace and Ash agree to kiss for a good cause. A kiss is just a kiss, right?

Or can one kiss really change everything?

Download your free Kindle copy here

Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas!

I hope you have a wonderful holiday filled with family, friends, and food! (And that Santa was good to you this year!)

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Win My New Novel!

There's a Goodreads Giveaway going on right now and you could win a printed copy of my new novel, The Captive! So far, the reviews have been great (which is a big relief) and I'd love to send you a copy and hear what you think.

Click here to enter

Here's the back copy:

Former Navy SEAL Jake Williams is the newly appointed head of a task force assigned to rescue a kidnapped American diplomat. Their only hope is Mya Amari, the daughter of a notorious Algerian hostage negotiator, but she is full of secrets and complications--something Jake takes as a personal challenge. As they grow closer, the threat to the mission escalates and time runs out for the hostages. Can Jake unravel the web of deception to save them all without getting caught in the crossfire?

Mya Amari has been in hiding nearly her entire life to escape her father's enemies. But when her sister is kidnapped along with an American diplomat, she'll do anything to bring her home--including walking into the enemy's lair. She doesn't trust anyone, especially the too-handsome-for-his-own-good Commander Williams, but when all her careful plans explode out of control, he's the only one she can turn to with the truth about her family. Is it too little, too late?

Can't wait to see if you win? You can buy your Kindle copy here for $4.99

And since it's Christmas Eve, I just wanted to share a new favorite song of mine, The Prayer, sung by Nathan Pacheco and David Archuleta.  I recently discovered it and could listen to it all day! So beautiful!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Christmas Fun---What Have You Done?

Since my entire family is home for Christmas break we've been doing fun Christmas things. We went to see the new Star Wars movie (loved it!) and while that isn't exactly Christmas-y, I'm counting it since we were together.

We've been to see Christmas lights, including several houses in our city that have lights set to music.

We've made Christmas ornaments and made gingerbread houses.

I helped my little ones write Christmas cards to older people in our neighborhood and deliver them with a small treat.

And we're using that book I talked about on Monday, All About Christmas, with jokes and Christmas trivia in it. It's been a lot of fun!

We've gone sledding, although I just watched. It was cold!

We've made all different kinds of hot chocolate to see which flavor we like the best. (I'm still a cherry chocolate lover).

We've watched Christmas movies (Elf is my favorite).

And we've wrapped gifts we got for brothers and sisters and for our Sub for Santa kids. That was probably the most fun of all, the feeling we got as we talked about what our gift recipient would think when they opened it.

The big day is just around the corner and I'm nearly as excited as my kids. How are you handling Christmas break/days leading up to Christmas? Have you done anything fun?

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Book Review: Twelve Days Of Christmas In December

I've really enjoyed Michele Paige Holmes' Hearthfire Romance series and she's released a Christmas novella called Twelve Days in December, continuing the story of William and Charlotte, whom we met at the end of Marrying Christopher.  You can read it as a standalone novella, however, there are major spoilers for the end of Marrying Christopher, so if you haven't read that one, you might want to before you read Twelve Days in December.

William and Charlotte are at the beginning of their marriage of convenience, trying to figure out how their new relationship boundaries. Charlotte is grateful that she has a roof over her head and is able to now provide for her son, Alec, but she's also torn between her love for her deceased husband and her newfound feelings for William.  

William is really loving the idea of having a family, but is unsure how to let Charlotte know he is thinking of her as more than a business arrangement. I loved the scenes with him and Alec and how thoughtful he was toward Charlotte.  William was a great hero and even though he's dealing with a lot of complex emotions in himself and Charlotte, he comes across as realistic and three dimensional.  I definitely wanted this story to be longer, but closed the book with a smile.

You can buy your copy here for $2.99

Here's the back copy:

Five months isn’t enough time to grieve the death of her husband and marry again, but when the unexpected opportunity to take her sister’s place as the bride of wealthy New York businessman, William Vancer, presents itself, twenty-four year-old Charlotte Holbrook agrees. Their marriage of convenience will provide a secure future for her son, while William will be able to claim the inheritance he needs to expand his company westward.

To begin their perfect and perfectly safe arrangement, William allots the last twelve days in December to become acquainted with his new family—a task more easily accomplished than he had imagined. For in Charlotte he finds a tender heart and companion, while stepping into the role of father to her son, brings William a great measure of joy as well. Before the twelve days have passed, he finds himself wishing their marriage of convenience could be something much more.

For Charlotte, every day with William is one of overwhelming gratitude, as he anticipates and provides for her needs, as well as the fondest desires of her heart. More than material comforts, William offers friendship as well, and a loving concern that Charlotte has gone too long without. Guilt ridden, she struggles with her growing attraction and wonders how she can ever remain loyal to her first husband, while allowing herself to love William as he deserves.

Other books in the series:
Saving Grace
Loving Helen
Marrying Christopher

Monday, December 21, 2015

Last Minute Christmas Books & Movies to Make Your Season Bright!

My family is so excited that Christmas is nearly here. Today I want to spotlight some Christmas books, movies, and a statue of Jesus that will enrich your family's Christmas experience.

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The first one is All About Christmas. and it is the ultimate in Christmas books. It has poems, scriptures, recipes, Christmas trivia, jokes, and Christmas traditions from around the world. I love that it had short stories, fun stuff to read as a family, and some traditions we could try in our family. So many things that can help you celebrate the spirit of the season.

Here's the back copy:

All About Christmas- This hard cover book is stuffed with stories, songs, poems, Christmas history, joyful traditions, recipes, and activities. This delightful book celebrates all things Christmas - from the sacred story of the Nativity to the lore of Saint Nick. 

You can buy your copy here for $19.99

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This one has a word and thought for each day leading up to Christmas. The inspirational thoughts also include scriptures and is a great way to count down to Christmas with your family.

Here's the back copy:

Words of Christmas: Savoring the True Meaning of the Season One Word at a TimeThis beautifully designed book takes a closer look at twenty-five words, like hope, faith and joy, that we hear throughout the holidays. 

You can buy your copy here for $14.99

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Christus Marble 3 inch statue

This one is pretty self-explanatory. It's a beautifully detailed Christus statue to remind you of the reason for the season. You can buy your own here for $9.95

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This one is a beautiful book of Janice Kapp Perry's songs, but it also includes amazing artwork and the inspiration behind the songs. Some of the behind the scenes brought tears to my eyes.  Definitely a special musical collection.

Here's the back copy:

A Songbook for LDS FamiliesA Songbook for LDS Families highlights eighteen beloved and well-known songs, as well as twenty-eight newly penned Book of Mormon hymns composed by Janice Kapp Perry with text by Bonnie Hart Murray. 

You can buy your copy here for $21.01

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This is a film directed and written by John Lyde of a crippled shepherd, recalling his father's account of seeing the angels and the Christ child on that first Christmas night. A sweet story for the whole family.

Here's the back copy:

No Ordinary Shepherd (DVD)- The young shepherd boy, has always treasured his father's tale of that starlit night filled with wonder of angelic heralds and a tiny Bethlehem stable sheltering the chosen Messiah. The young shepherd later encounters a miracle of his own. 

You can buy your copy here for $6.99

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This one is another sweet story about the Savior and reminds us of why we celebrate Christmas. A great family show that will touch your heart!

Here's the back copy:

He Knows My Name (DVD)- Rebekah is fascinated by the man her neighbors call Jesus. Her mother is not so sure. One day she brings Jesus home - a simple act that will forever change their lives. 

You can buy your copy here for $7.99

My family has enjoyed all of these things and I know it will add to your Christmas celebrations, too! (My daughter is still sitting next to me telling me the Christmas jokes out of the All About Christmas book as I write this. I think it's her new favorite Christmas book!)

Friday, December 18, 2015

Freebie Friday

Today's Freebie Friday is a paranormal romance called Hunted by Katie Lee O'Guinn. It's a werewolf story and the first in the series.  Looks exciting!

Here's the back copy:

Maysie LaRouga is on the run. She has taken her younger brother and fled to Paskell, the only place on earth she might be safe from the werewolf hunter. Her mom, Sam LaRouga is trying to get him off their tail, but making it there is the easy part. It's falling in love with an Alpha that might be the death of her.

Download your free Kindle copy here 

Thursday, December 17, 2015

What's Your Favorite Christmas Treat?

Today is a red letter day! I made over three hundred caramel wrapped and dipped in chocolate pretzel rods, and then I made chocolate nativity scenes. I am so proud because this is not a normal thing for me. I'm not good at crafty things or, you know, homemade chocolate things (thankfully my kids never care what it looks like, only if it tastes good) and so I'm feeling a little giddy that it turned out!

They're edible! They look good!  But now I can't stop eating them. Haha! They might not make it to a goodie plate for friends and neighbors.

What's your favorite Christmas treat?

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Interview And Review With Dean Hughes

I was privileged to be able to have a phone interview with prolific author Dean Hughes. I met him at a book fair years ago, and the thing that stood out to me the most is even though he had a long line of people waiting to talk to him, he made each person feel like they were the only ones there. He is so personable and I really enjoyed interviewing him about his new book, Home and Away A World War II Christmas Story.

What was your inspiration for Home and Away?

I read a lot of history books and when I was reading about the 101st Airborne at the Battle of the Bulge, it was Christmastime and they were surrounded. Not only was it hard for the soldiers, but what about the families back home? That was an intense time. My first idea was a short story from my boyhood days in Ogden, Utah, when my Dad gave me a $20 bill to buy something for my mom. I found a dress at Penney's and the sales lady told me I didn't have enough money. I loved the navy blue dress, though, and kept coming back to it, and finally she told me she could sell it to me for $20. Years later I was thinking about that, wondering how it happened. Did she pay for part of it? Talk to her manager? And it became part of Home and Away. My mother loved Christmas, just like the mother in the book.

The characters are so realistic, do you ever base them on real people?

Most books I don't. I brainstorm and the characters come to life. This book was based more on real people, although I didn't have a Glen in my life. Mother, Father, Dennis are all based on childhood memories.

What is your favorite period in history?

I enjoy WWII era and early Mormon history. Part of me misses the early 50s, it just seemed like simpler times. But early Mormon history is fascinating. It would be hard to go back to any era, I think. People just carry on in all different situations.

What's the best part of being a writer?

Research. I search out good books and websites, I'm constantly learning. Writing is hard. It's tedious, backbreaking, sitting at a computer for hours. The hardest for me is drafting, though. I like to revise, to have that creative experience of getting into characters and the emotional attachment. I've been able to set my own schedule for most of my life, too, which I like. My wife says I go after life like I'm trying to kill a snake. I've always got something to do, I'm always busy going after it.

Do you have a favorite Christmas family tradition? A favorite Christmas memory?

We get together with our whole family at Christmastime. I love to listen to the Messiah. I make peanut brittle and it's really good.  I like shopping for my wife.

My favorite Christmas memory is when I was six, I wanted a bike. On Christmas morning I could see there weren't any presents in the shape of a bike and I was trying to act like it was okay, but most of my presents were bike accessories and I was thinking, hey, what are they trying to do? But then my dad said he'd heard something on the porch the night before and wondered if Santa had left something out there, and sure enough, there was my bike.

The war chapters are so poignant. Do you have an active member in the military in your home? 

No, I had an uncle in the Battle of the Bulge and he talked abut the cold and misery. I did a lot of research and read a lot of oral histories.

How does your faith contribute to your writing?

I'm never trying to teach anything with my books, but what you believe comes out in your writing. Elements and feelings of what you believe in caring for others and knowing right from wrong.

What's one thing about you that readers don't know?

I was a rollerskating champion as a teenager. Back then there were lots of rinks and competitions. It was dance skating with a partner and we were state and regional champs, and came in fourth in Nationals. I played football and was on the track team as well.

Do you have advice for aspiring writers?

Be a pro at it, you can't just dabble. Learn techniques. You can't dash off something and think the publisher will fix it up. Work at it until it's finished and learn how it's done. Put in a consistent effort.

What book are you currently reading?

McCullough's book about Truman. I love history. I'm also writing a YA book about the all-Japanese unit in WWII called 442 and how they were the most decorated of the war. They saved a lost battalion, freed 211 fellow Americans, but sustained 800 casualties doing it. That book should come out next summer.

I have to say this phone conversation was so pleasant and light, I could have spoken to him for hours! Mr. Hughes has written over a hundred books and knows his stuff.

His new Christmas book, Home and Away A World War II Christmas Story is a powerful story of love and war, families and fear. I loved the dynamics between the characters as we went with Glen to the foxholes and saw how intense it was for him, and then switched back to just how intense it was at home, but in a different way. The setting is really well done and adds to the overall feel of the book, especially in the war chapters.

Dennis and Glen were written so realistically, I could totally envision them both as they dealt with the emotions of facing death for Glen and for Dennis, dealing with the blush of first love while poor, an abrupt father who drinks, and a mother who he desperately wants to get a nice gift for at Christmas. An emotional, complicated story that will stay with you long after you close the book.

You won't want to miss this Christmas story, but have the tissues handy!

Here's the back copy:

A historical fiction novel told from the perspective of a son fighting on the battlefields of Europe during World War II and his mother, struggling with worry and uncertainty about her soldier son while she tries to keep a semblenance of a normal, happy Christmas holiday back on the homefront.

Norma Hayes has always tried to make Christmas special for her family, but 1944 will make that more difficult with money being tight and wartime rationing making everything hard to come by. Aware of his mother's hardships and the worry from having her eldest son at war, second son, Dennis, is determined to buy his mother a special gift this Christmas, a lavender blue dress he hopes will bring her comfort as a symbol of special times gone by and the hope of a brighter future with the family reunited at war's end.

Meantime, on a battlefield far from home in Holland with his 101st Airborne battalion, her soldier son catches a familiar scent of lavendar which briefly transports him back to the homefront to the perfume scent his mother wore, giving him a short respite and reuniting the family once again if only in his imagination

You can buy your copy here for $12.91

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

The Captive Is Now Available!

I am SO THRILLED to announce that you can get my new romantic suspense, THE CAPTIVE, on Amazon! (Nook should be available at the end of the week as well as paperback.)

I have been working on this story for so long, it feels amazing to have it finally be released. I am celebrating tonight!

You can see it on Amazon here

*happy dance*

Here's the back copy:

Former Navy SEAL Jake Williams is the newly appointed head of a task force assigned to rescue a kidnapped American diplomat. Their only hope is Mya Amari, the daughter of a notorious Algerian hostage negotiator, but she is full of secrets and complications–something Jake takes as a personal challenge. As they grow closer, the threat to the mission escalates and time runs out for the hostages. Can Jake unravel the web of deception to save them all without getting caught in the crossfire?

Mya Amari has been in hiding nearly her entire life to escape her father’s enemies. But when her sister is kidnapped along with an American diplomat, she’ll do anything to bring her home–including walking into the enemy’s lair. She doesn’t trust anyone, especially the too-handsome-for-his-own-good Commander Williams, but when all her careful plans explode out of control, he’s the only one she can turn to with the truth about her family. Is it too little, too late?

Monday, December 14, 2015

Book Review: Asleep On The Hay (And A $25 Giveaway!)

Asleep on the Hay (1)

Asleep on the Hay

I'm happy to be part of the blog tour for Asleep On The Hay: A Dust Bowl Christmas.  This book is a picture book by Ben Sowards. If you aren't familiar with Mr. Sowards work, this book showcases the best of his art. He makes people and faces come alive on the page. It's incredible and this book's illustrations are no exception. (There are some examples below.)

The storyline is a Christmas setting during the Great Depression. Paul and his beloved calf are inseparable as they struggle through little food and his parents' absence. Then, when a couple knocks on the door, in need of a doctor for their sick baby. Paul's grandfather reaches out to help them, but Paul refuses, and rushes to his calf's side to tell her his troubles. While there, he has a dream that changes his heart.  A beautiful Christmas story with illustrations that will touch your heart and bring this story to life.

(Scroll down for a chance to win $25 in cash!)

Here's the back copy:

It’s Christmas Eve when a knock comes at the door of Paul’s family farmhouse. A small family is stranded due to a broken-down truck and seeks shelter for the evening. Paul’s grandfather not only welcomes them in, but offers them dinner and a bed for the night. Even though it is a season of giving, Paul’s heart is not filled with charity. It’s the height of the Dust Bowl and food is scarce. Why should he share what little he has with strangers? Worse, in order to help the sick baby, Paul will have to sell his beloved calf to buy a part to fix the truck. Angry, he retreats to the barn, where he sleeps and dreams of faraway Bethlehem. In his dream, he visits Mary and Joseph, and their newborn son, Jesus. The family offers Paul food and shelter and warmth—extending to him the love and charity he lacks and teaching him of the true meaning of Christmas.

  Asleep on the Hay 1

  Asleep on the Hay 2

  Asleep on the Hay 3  

add to goodreads
ben sowards

Ben Sowards is the illustrator of many well-loved picture books, including A Christmas Dress for Ellen, Seven Miracles that Saved America, and Christmas Oranges. Ben Sowards teaches others to paint both traditionally and digitally at Southern Utah University, where has directed the illustration program since 2001.

$25 Blog Tour giveaway

$25 Blog Tour Giveaway Giveaway Enter to win an Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 12/30/15 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the publisher. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Friday Freebie

Today's Friday Freebie is A Perfect Fit by Heather Tullis. I've read some of Ms. Tullis's other romances and enjoyed them, so I'll be definitely be downloading this one to my Kindle!

Here's the back copy:

Cami DiCarlo doesn’t agree with her father that her life has been stuck in a rut, so she is not happy when he forces her hand into heading up guest services at his newest five-star hotel. The fact that he unveils the existence of four half-sisters at the same time, and insists that they live together while they launch the new resort, only makes things worse.

When she meets Vince Talmadge, the sweet, sexy landscaper her father would never have approved of, Cami can’t say no. If only she could be sure she is on the right track—and that they will be able to stop the person who is trying to destroy everything she and her sisters are working to build.

You can download your free Kindle copy here 

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Basketball Craziness And The Almost Fight

As you all know I have a lot of boys and basketball season is the start of craziness at our house. With so many boys who love the sport, we spend a lot of time in gyms, watching games.  Tonight, though, the game in our men's league got a little crazy.

After a loose ball foul, one of the opposing team players was so upset he was yelling at the ref, yelling obscenities at the other team and when a smaller player on my son's team bench said the guy should just sit down, the very angry man threatened him and said that he would see him after the game.

It was stunning to me. In our city league you don't usually see behavior like that. They brought in another ref to contain the situation and the mood on the floor was tense.  The fun had been sucked out of the game, that's for sure.

But then, on the next time out, the player who'd been threatened and sworn at went over to the angry man and apologized, even reaching out to him for a bro hug. It was truly humbling to see this smaller man be the bigger person and defuse the entire situation with an apology and a hug.

What a great example to everyone who was there about what real sportsmanship is and what it means to reach out to others, even if they're angry or hurtful.

I wish we saw more of that in our Facebook feeds and on our blogs, Instagram and Twitter accounts.

Love overcomes hate. Every time. And these are the kind of examples we can all follow in embracing the love and not accepting the hate.

Even on a basketball court.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Writer Goal Wednesday

photo credit: plnaugle via photopin cc 

I was looking over the goals I had for this year and was pleasantly surprised to see I've accomplished a lot of them. I have several books out on Audible, I've put out my novellas, I'm about to have my new novel out, and it's just been a really good year. I learned a lot about marketing, presented at two writing conferences, and made some new author friends. To top it all off, I've nearly reached my goal of reading 115 books!

The thing that surprises me most about it all, though, is that I just did small little babysteps and they turned into some pretty big goals being accomplished. Of course I didn't do everything I'd planned, but if there's one thing I've learned about being a writermom, it's that I have to be flexible. There's always more goals to reach for.

I'm starting to write down my goals for 2016. I'd like to have a set publishing schedule for my projects next year, to keep going with getting my books out on Audible, and continue trying new marketing ideas. Obviously I'll have to get more specific to make them actual goals, but I've still got a few weeks to do that. Maybe I'll make one of my weekly goals writing down specific yearly goals. *grin*

What about you? How did you do on your goals this year? Are you thinking ahead to next year?

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

December Reading Recommendation #2

Today's Christmas reading recommendation is the Silver Bells Timeless Romance Anthology by some of my favorite authors. (Sarah Eden's story is adorable!) And the best part is it's only .99 cents for pages and pages that will put you in the Christmas spirit! You have to get this one, curl up in front of a fire, with some hot chocolate and a fuzzy blanket. It is so worth it.

You can download your .99 cent Kindle copy here

Here's the back copy:

Six Award-Winning Authors have contributed new stories to A Timeless Romance Anthology: Silver Bells. Readers will love this collection of six historical romance novellas, all centered around the Christmas season.

In NY Times & USA Today’s bestselling author Lucinda Brant’s delightful novella, FAIRY CHRISTMAS, Kitty Aldershot is orphaned and forced to live on others’ charity. Offered a home under the generous roof of her relatives, the Earl of Salt Hendon and his countess, Kitty wants for nothing, not even the affections of Mr. Tom Allenby. But when Kitty stumbles across a letter written by Lady Caroline that reveals how Mr. Allenby would be ruined should he marry the likes of Kitty, she realizes she has been fooling herself all along. Kitty’s world crumbles around her as she recognizes she will forever be alone with no prospects at all.

Sarah M. Eden’s charming romance novella A CHRISTMAS PROMISE, Sean Kirkpatrick is trying to get to his new place of employment, Kilkenny Castle, in order to start as the new stablehand. His only requirement is to drive a team of high-spirited nags from Dublin to Kilkenny in a certain amount of time. Unfortunately he winds up in a muddy field, stuck, lost, and running out of time. He’s about to lose the job before he can prove himself capable of finishing his first assignment. When Maeve Butler arrives on the scene, Sean isn’t sure if she’s intent on rescuing him or bent on torturing him with her fiery wit and lovely dark eyes.

In Heather B. Moore’s enchanting novella, TWELVE MONTHS, Lucien Baxter’s best and most incorrigible friend, Will, dies unexpectedly, leaving behind his new bride and unborn child the week before Christmas. Will’s last request is that Lucien watches over Cora, not just as a benefactor, but as a husband. When Lucien does his duty and proposes to Cora, he’s turned down flat. But over the course of the next few days, Lucien discovers that marrying Cora wouldn’t be any sort of duty after all, but a matter of following his heart.

In Lu Ann Staheli’s sweet romance novella, A FEZZIWIG CHRISTMAS, Dick Wilkins and his best friend Ebenezer Scrooge have been looking forward to the annual Fezziwig Christmas dance for weeks. Ebenezer is practically engaged to Annabelle Fezziwig, and Dick hopes to start courting her younger sister, Pricilla. Once the dance starts, and Pricilla arrives, as pretty and charming as ever, Dick discovers that he’s not the only man vying for her attention. His best friend advises Dick that he has to win Pricilla’s heart, as well as her mother’s favor. Losing his heart has suddenly become very complicated.

A TASTE OF HOME, a captivating romance by Annette Lyon, we meet Claire Jennings, who’s on her way to spend Christmas with her family. As she rides the train with William Rhodes, who grew up across the street, memories of Christmases past flood her mind. He may be twenty-one now, but she can’t forget his torturous teasing from their school years. At the rail station, Claire discovers that her home is under quarantine because her little brother has measles. She's stuck in town, away from her family, on her favorite holiday. William stays behind with her, and as Christmas Day approaches and her homesickness deepens, she discovers that perhaps he has changed in more ways than one.

Becca Wilhite’s entrancing novella, MY MODERN GIRL, follows Margie, who lands her dream job as a clerk at Macy’s department store in New York City. Margie might be new in town, but she’s determined to succeed and prove to Henry that moving to the city was the right decision. As the Christmas season approaches, Margie realizes that being a “modern girl” might not be all she had dreamed of and Henry might have more to offer than she ever imagined.