Easter’s Coming Up

Now that my kids are 20 and 15 Easter Sunday doesn’t carry the anticipation it used to when they were young. In the past I had to wait until they were sound asleep before I filled their baskets with chocolates and stuffed animals then I’d have to find a good place to set the baskets — away from anywhere the dogs could get at them. I’d leave a trail of tiny eggs that eventually met up with the baskets. My husband would take videos of the kids (EARLY in the morning) looking and finding their gifts from the Easter Bunny. It was all so much fun.

And now? Easter Sunday has metamorphosed into a day where my daughter makes up baskets for each of us and I do the same for the two kids and though we “say” they’re from the E.B., it’s not the same. We host dinner for the family and enjoy each other’s company but the anticipation and excitement is in the past, replaced with watching some sort of sports on the television and eating ham and sweet potatoes.

I long for the days when I played the E.B. role.

What do you do to celebrate Easter?

Duck Shenanigans, Snow, and Reading Material…

Apr15, 2014 snowWhile some—or many…or maybe all!!!—of you are experiencing the wonderful delights of spring, we’re getting snow again. It’s beautiful, of course. Big white fluffy flakes that I hope will not accumulate overnight. I’m ready to put on my shorts, not my snow boots and winter jacket and toque.

And even though it’s chilly out there, hovering around the freezing temps, in the last week, the geese have arrived. And this morning, our ducks are on the pond, swimming along the edges where the ice has melted, picking their way across the still frozen middle—or iceberg as I joyfully refer to one of the last remnants of our winter.

Our mother duck is far braver than daddy duck, and has ventured onto the thin layer of ice which was water yesterday, but overnight has developed a thin crust of ice. We watch her fall through the paper thin ice, then she sits there and stares at her husband as though she expects him to venture out and rescue her. He doesn’t. Apparently he has more common sense than his female counterpart.

Eventually she manages to crawl back onto the ice, breaks through again, then finally finds a spot that will hold her minuscule weight long enough for her to waddle over to the open water where she spends some time swimming with her mate. But soon they wander out of the water and disappear, searching, I imagine, for a safe spot to nest.

I want to tell them there are no safe spots, except for maybe in our shop. There’s predators all around…that nasty cat who caught our mother duck last year and nearly made a meal of her, foxes and coyotes and believe it or not, a cougar, too.

So while I watch our wildlife settle back onto the acreage, and wait for the warm temps to arrive, I’ve lined up some new releases for my reading material:

The Memory Child by Steena HolmesA Numbers Game by Tracy SolheimDon't Let Go by Sharla Lovelace

The Memory Child by Steena Holmes

A Numbers Game by Tracy Solheim

Don’t Let Go by Sharla Lovelace

How about you? Is your part of the world warm or cold? What book(s) are you reading right now? Have you entered the Authors In Bloom bloghop for a chance to win some great prizes (last day is April 16, 2014!)?

Happy Easter!

All By Myself

I’ve been thinking about this quote from John C. Maxwell (I confess I had to look up John C. Maxwell when I first saw this image) as it relates to my life. I’m xxx_maxwell1happily married with two wonderful children who keep me on my toes and fill my life with unspeakable joy. I’m also a writer and as those of you who also pursue this rewarding/frustrating business can concur, it’s often a lonely way to make a living.

Dictionary.com defines lonely as solitary; without company; companionless. Yep, that pretty much sums up my writing life. I have other writing friends and I commiserate with them either online, on the phone, or in person. Those friendships keep me going, but in order for me to get words on the page, I have to spend hours alone. Some days when the words are flowing and I get an email from a reader, the loneliness subsides and gratefulness takes its place. I’m blessed to have the ability to work at home with a supportive family and flexible hours. But sometimes it feels like solitary confinement.

My current situation reminds me of when I quit work when my son was born. My husband and I made the decision to have me stay home and I was overjoyed to be with him all day, every day. It wasn’t long before all day, every day felt like a prison sentence. I went days without speaking to another adult. A grand outing was a trip to the grocery store. I’d phone my husband repeatedly asking,”When are you coming home?”

Just as I sought companionship as a new mother, I can now walk away from the computer and engage with others. I’ve spent the winter in three bible studies (two of which involve homework). I try to volunteer at school (sparingly). And I never miss one of my kids’ activities because I can’t get these years back. Could I pump out more books faster if I ignored my pangs of loneliness and chugged away at the computer? Absolutely. Would I be happy? No. Would the work suffer? Yes.

My point is that no matter your situation, don’t be afraid to join a group or take up a new hobby or step out of your comfort zone. Meet people. Learn something. Be open to new experiences. Life’s about the journey, and the journey always makes for a good story. If you have the time, I’d love to hear about your journey.

Five Fun Facts About A Numbers Game

A Numbers Game high resNext week, my first ever novella is being released.  A NUMBERS GAME is a prequel to my May 6th release RISKY GAME.  Like the rest of the Out of Bounds series, it features the fictional Baltimore Blaze football team.  I’m giving away some fun prizes on my blog tour that runs through April 18th.  Check out the schedule and stop by to win!

April 7- Smexy Books http://smexybooks.com/
April 8- SOS Aloha sosaloha.blogspot.com
(2nd Stop) What I’m Reading http://sillymelody.blogspot.com/
April 9- Delighted Reader http://delightedreader.com
April 10- Romance Junkies http://www.romancejunkies.com/
April 11- The Romance Dish http://theromancedish.com
April 14- Rookie Romance http://rookieromance.blogspot.co.uk/
April 15- Cocktails and Books http://www.cocktailsandbooks.com/
April 17- Romance Reader Girl http://romancereadergirl.com/
April 18- Harlequin Junkie- http://harlequinjunkie.com/

Now for the five fun facts about A NUMBERS GAME that first appeared on the Delighted Reader blog site earlier this week.
1. The hero of this book is a former professional football player, now an NFL coach. But our heroine is a C.P.A. Isn’t it about time the smart, organized, number crunchers get the sexy guy? I thought so.
2. The book takes place in one of my favorite cities—Baltimore, Maryland, better known as Charm City. Annapolis and St. Michael’s, Maryland also get some page time. If you haven’t been, you really need to go!
3. Readers will learn how to pick Maryland Blue Crabs. Picking crabs is a favorite summer pastime for most Baltimore natives so I had to include a scene where our hero, Heath, teaches our heroine, Merrit, the proper technique for dismantling and eating a crab.
4. Friends from previous Out of Bounds books appear in the novella, so readers can catch up on their favorite characters from Game On and Foolish Games.
5. This book is a novella so it’s meant to be read in one sitting. Open a bottle of wine, grab your favorite chocolate and enjoy.

risky blog tour

Protecting Kids from Childhood Diseases

Vaccine

As Kimberly S. Belle shared in her last post, April is Autism Awareness month. It’s a reminder for all of us to learn more about autism and how to support affected families. It’s also a good time for us to learn the truth about vaccines and autism. The overwhelming scientific evidence shows no link between the two, yet the myth persists.

The result? Children go unprotected. My nieces’ church school is currently dealing with an outbreak of pertussis. Commonly known as whooping cough, this highly contagious disease, which is most severe in babies, can lead to pneumonia and even death. Children may experience violent fits of coughing until the air is gone from the lungs, which can cause fainting or vomiting—or even life-threatening pauses in breathing.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has information on their website about the pertussis vaccination and vaccine safety. Comedians Penn & Teller offer a persuasive look at why parents should get their children vaccinated even if there were a link between vaccines and autism (strong language):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RfdZTZQvuCo

Autism can have a devastating effect on families. So can childhood diseases. It’s up to all of us to learn more about autism, so that we can be guided by knowledge rather than fear.

Photo courtesy of zeathiel.

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