After a bit of thought, I came up with a few other options for today’s prompt about superpowers. Then an old post I wrote came to me. I’d love a superpower that gave me the ability to communicate with animals. When my dog was still with me, I imagined what she thought when she’d look at me with different expressions or the way she cocked her head. This would be extremely helpful if cats explained why they do what they do. Of course, they wouldn’t.
Don’t let the title fool you. It’s Day One of Bloganuary for me since I signed up yesterday. I’m beginning with today’s prompt. I’ll never catch up, but maybe I’ll use two prompts in some of my posts.
For my outside-of-the-home career, I worked with children at the elementary and middle-school levels. Many of my students had learning disabilities in reading and math. I watched them struggle day in and day out in all of their subjects.
So, yes, I’m passionate about not only children learning how to read, but to enjoy reading at whatever level fits them. In my job, it tore at my heart when they’d get frustrated and refuse to give reading a chance.
A few years before I retired, our middle school began a reading pilot program for our struggling readers. The curriculum taught the early skills needed to read, beginning with phonetics. Middle school kids hated having to pronounce words phonetically. They screamed that they weren’t first graders. Yet, some of them read at lower grade levels.
We did periodic testing, and it didn’t take long before we saw improvements in their reading and test scores. Since it was a pilot program, we had a lot of eyes watching our progress, so we were pleased to see test scores improve throughout the year. Once the kids saw their improvements, they didn’t complain as much.
One student in the pilot program still stands out today. She whole-heartedly hated reading and grumbled a lot in the program. One day in her grade level classroom, during free-reading time, she had her book propped on her desk as if reading. Instead, she doodled. I asked what she liked to read, but she didn’t like to read anything.
After glancing around the room to see what others were reading, I took her a graphic novel and asked if it looked interesting to her. She nodded and reached for it.
In this context, the word “graphic” does not mean “adult” or “explicit.”
Graphic novels are books written and illustrated in the style of a comic
book. To be considered a graphic novel, rather than a picture book or
illustrated novel, the story is told using a combination of words and
From that day on, she brought a graphic novel to class for free reading and read it! She bought one at the school book fair, and I saw her reading in other classes too. Sometimes when she should have been paying attention. I smiled to myself and felt proud that she finally discovered the joy of reading.
Thanks for reading! Enjoy the upcoming week.
If you’re in a cold climate like I am, stay warm. ~MJ
Well, here I am trying Bloganuary to help me get back to blogging. Since I’ve been away from actual blogging, outside of book info, I’m not sure I like it anymore, so at the end of January, I’ll see what happens. Why the end of January?
BLOGANUARY is a way to get in the habit of blogging by WordPress posting writing prompts each day of January. It began on January 1st. Obviously, I missed the date and signed up today after reading a Bloganuary post in my Reader, which led me to another, and another. When WordPress announced this earlier, I had intended to sign up. Busy me forgot.
Are any of you participating? Want to? Click here for info.
Let me tell you one of the difficult parts of participating as this introvert. Well, being an introvert is number one. I’m not complaining. It’s who I am. It seems I’m not 100% introvert, but the percentage is high. You see, there’s a Bloganuary community where we can share our posts. Uh… I freak out thinking about sharing in a community I don’t know. We do post on our own blogs and add the link on the community webpage. Sharing on my blog isn’t a problem, but the community is the “world” and I… Well, you get what I’m saying.
My blog is the world, too, but somehow it’s different to me–cozy and comfortable–since I’ve been posting here since around 2007. I don’t want to use the word OH-NO! However, this is where my true introvert kicks into gear. Only I can choose whether I do or don’t give in to my reclusive muse–the one who tries to stop me from doing things. Is it really a muse, though?
Ahh, yes, the solution. There is an app with the prompts. Then it becomes a private thing between me, the prompts, my blog, my followers, and whoever visits. I am more comfortable with this solution. But… I can’t find the app, and I don’t know where I saw the link posted. ARGH! Whine, whine. So, my reclusive muse contacted support. Oh, darn.
Then I think… I am not giving in to “OH-NO!” We’ll see.
UPDATE: WordPress got back to me with an answer about the app I mentioned. The name of the app is Day One Journal and is not connected with Bloganuary, but it’s more like a journaling app. You can find information about Bloganuary and the Day One Journal app HERE.
Today’s prompt is a bust because I’d like more time to think it over. Of course, it’d be in its own post IF I answered: “What is a life lesson everyone can benefit from learning?” I’d say:
I don’t know how early the prompt comes out tomorrow, or if I’ll do anything with it then or for the rest of the month.
Can you believe it? I published these books in the nick of time to get a 2021 release date. I’ve never in my years of publishing on KDP had a book uploaded and then published as fast as these two. I took it as a good sign. I uploaded them both on December 30th one after the other. Odd, that one book has a publication date of December 29th and the other the 30th. Either way, they’re out in the world now! Both books are released only on Amazon at this time.
Both book covers were designed by Dawné Dominique at DusktilDawn Designs. She’s my hero!
So, now I present to you my two new releases. Big breath in and big breath out.
Blue snow in the Moonlight: A Holiday Romance
California woman with Midwest roots. Hot cowboy in cold North Dakota. If anyone needs Christmas magic, it’s Cullen and Elle.
Without kids, a cattle ranch, and a renter in his cottage, Cullen Hollister would hibernate during Christmas. Instead, he’s holding a detonator to brighten Sugarton in a festive display of lights. Then a stranger’s forever smile speeds up the beat of his wounded heart. An acquaintance introduces his niece with a heart seemingly as cold as Cullen’s. They’re thrown together in a cottage he loathes, but he’s drawn to her, admiring her assertiveness, down-to-earth nature, and sexy blue-snow eyes. He discovers a yearning more powerful than stubbornness. But it’s hard to trust after being burned once. If Christmas magic is real, maybe making memories with Elle will lead to a forever love after all. First, he needs to know he can trust her with his and his kid’s hearts.
Elle Palmer-Shaw uses her cousin’s wedding in North Dakota as an escape from sorrowful memories. Her aunt and uncle beg her to move back to her roots. With her work, she can live anywhere. When she meets the handsome green-eyed owner of the cottage, a simmering attraction grows, and Christmas takes on a new meaning. His memories of the cottage are painful, yet he makes her an offer she can’t refuse. It’s a simple solution until she’s called back home. She tries to convince Cullen to keep the rental cottage available—to give them a chance when she returns, even after dropping a bombshell on him about her past. But will he destroy his walls and let her in, or will he continue to exist instead of live and love?
NOTE: If you read “Imprisoned in a Cowboy’s Heart” book one in this series, you heard rumors and lies about Cade’s ex-fiancée, Faith. She never made an appearance in the book. I had no intention of making Faith the heroine, but as characters are known to do, she kept nudging me until I gave in. Then I realized I had started their story in the first book. They deserved to have their story told.
Two-Five Ranch Outlaws, #2
South of True North
Townsfolk cheered when they fell in love. Then they destroyed them with rumors and lies.
Rancher Cade Outlaw and his ex-fiancée share custody of their daughter, and they’re growing close again. Her ex-boyfriend’s vengeful attack on her seven years ago destroyed Cade and Faith’s happily ever after. When he asks for a do-over, he vows to protect the relationship from the pain that separated them—to keep her and their child safe from their past. But how can he take a step back if he gets the chance to settle the score? Is his love for Faith and Nadia strong enough to hold on to the second chance they deserve?
Heartbroken, pregnant, fired from her job, and Cade’s focus on avenging the assault took a toll on Faith Ribeiro. To heal, she’d left him. Years later, a Fundraising Executive and single mom, she lives with emotional and physical scars. Cade is the only man she’ll love, and she can’t deny the powerful chemistry between them. However, rekindling a relationship may invite wickedness back into their lives. What will she do this time if Cade still wants to pay back her abuser? How much will her heart break if Nadia gets swept up in their chaos after striving to keep her from it?
They’re stronger together, though they need to overcome the challenges standing in their way of a peaceful life—hate, heartache, vengeance, and family betrayal. But how will they hang on to the profound love they once shared if they don’t come out of this unscathed?
DISCLAIMER: This story contains references to domestic abuse that happened outside of the book. Our hero, Cade, is NOT the abuser. Brief scenes and memories play out in Faith and Cade’s thoughts and narration, and may be troubling for some readers.
Wishing you all the very happiest of holidays in whichever way you celebrate.
See, I’m still around. I haven’t fallen off the face of the earth, but I’ve neglected so many important things this year. My blog is one of them, but I couldn’t let this day go by without popping in to say hello and wish you a wonderful holiday and Merry Christmas. I won’t keep you on this Christmas morning. Enjoy.
Cheers, my friends!
See you back here soon with two new book announcements.
Hello. I hope your weekend is off to a great start. This snippet is from book one in the Two-Five Ranch Outlaws series but refers to a conflict that sets up book two between Cade, his mother, and Faith. The thing is, most of the family sided with their mom against Faith and chose to believe rumors and lies that destroyed Cade and Faith’s relationship. Nadia is their six-year-old daughter.
We’re in Karis’s POV. She’s the heroine in book one, and a few years after Cade and Faith’s breakup, Karis had become friendly with Faith and still is to this day.
Imprisoned in a Cowboy’s Heart ~Two-Five Ranch Outlaws, Book One:
Ruth glanced at her boys. “You’re all here, why not stay for supper? I got a lot of leftovers. I forget how to cook for only me and Jess.”
“I don’t like leftovers, Grandma.” Nadia folded her arms and took a defiant stance.
“You’ll eat them, child. Or go hungry. My leftovers aren’t like your mother’s.”
“Mom.” Cade shook his head. “Be careful. You aren’t talking to a toddler anymore. Besides, Faith is a great cook.”
Ruth had no qualms in showing her dislike of Cade’s ex-fiancée who had been rumored to have cheated on him. Rumor or not, Ruth stood firm in believing it to be true. Karis had believed Faith when she’d told her how the rumor materialized out of revenge. She’d recognized true pain in Faith’s eyes.
It hadn’t helped to gain Ruth’s approval when Faith had kept the pregnancy from Cade until a couple months before their wedding. As the story goes, Ruth had been the one to insist he had a paternity test to prove the child was his before saying “I Do.” Turned out, seven months later, a bouncing baby Nadia came into the family with her dad at her mom’s side. By then, the family’s mistrust, and Cade not sticking up for Faith, had been enough to end their relationship. So, after knowing Ruth’s ability to quick-judge, it had worried Karis that Ruth might turn her back on her, too, but she hadn’t.
Around here now at Jesse and Ruth’s, the family had always come together in times of need. Karis smiled at the loving banter between them. Nadia had been such a delight to Cade and the family. It saddened her that Ruth had never given Faith a chance to be a part of this.
Well, now… Cade and Faith have a lot to overcome before they can fathom a second chance. They may have a chance as long as their sworn enemy, and the one who started this whole ordeal, remains out of sight, because if he returns…
Thank you for reading. Have a nice rest of your weekend. We’ve gone from drought to flooding in the area with more days of rain on the way while other parts of the state still suffer. We may continue with drought conditions after all this rain soaks in. Wishing you all the best. 💕
This Wordless Wednesday post isn’t wordless. I haven’t written in my blog in so long, it deserves, and craves, some words.
It’s obvious I didn’t take the time to crop four of these. I’m not trying to showcase the parking lot or vehicle. I think it’s called lazy. This is the “turkey path” as I call it.
As many as ten turkeys appeared the day I took these pictures. They didn’t seem to be in a hurry and gradually disappeared around the building or into the woodlands. Since early spring, I have only seen one strolling around alone. I don’t know if it’s male or female, but one of them probably sits on the nest while the other searches for food. Curiosity drove me to research this stuff. 😉
Yesterday, I happened to glance out the window to see one lone young turkey run across the parking lot as fast as its little legs would go. I’m sure I missed the others as this little one tried to catch up with the family. It reminded me of the Roadrunner running from Wile E. Coyote.
I hope you’re all doing well. Me? I’m hanging in here and have a book almost ready for the editor. I’m in the last round of a self-edit before sending it off. I’m close to writing the end on another one, which is a new setting for me and took a lot of research. So, back to my writing cave… Thank goodness I have my characters to talk to because it’s getting lonely in here. My apologies for not visiting your blogs. One day… One day I will catch up. For now, I kind of need the break. I miss you all.
Hey there. Happy spring. I’m still here living the life. <waving>
It’s been a while since I’ve posted or visited my fellow bloggers, but I’ve been writing. I can happily say I finished book two in the Two-Five Ranch Outlaws series. It’s sitting now before I go back to rip it apart and cut a lot of words. I overwrote. Or maybe I didn’t. Let’s put it this way: I said what had to be said, but it’s a higher word count than I wanted, so maybe I didn’t need to say it all. I’m also 12K words into a holiday western romance. However, that has nothing to do with today’s post. 😊
Since I’ve been away from my blog, I had new covers made for four of my books. I haven’t officially revealed the other three yet, but they aren’t hard to find.
Today I’m introducing the new re-cover for Finding Kimber, Book Two, from Canyon Junction: Hearts in Love Series—a spin off to the Double Dutch Ranch Series. As the title says, they’re on the run. I’ve changed two names to avoid spoilers. Kimber mentions Stormy. He’s the dog Zach gave her.
First the Blurb
She’s wary of her future. He’s burdened by his past.
Zachary (Zach) Bryson arrives in Arizona with hopes of leaving the ghosts from his past behind. Hired by a stranger to run a ranch, he meets the owner—a secretive woman with no ranching experience. He’s seen her before, but she wasn’t a redhead with green eyes. In their first encounter, she swept him off his feet without their exchanging a word. Why did she change her appearance? What secrets lay behind those heart-stopping eyes? Seeing this job as a challenge, he sticks around to tackle this hottie head-on.
Kimber Sinclair is forced to flee her lush Oregon county for a small town in Arizona with sand, saguaros, and dusty cowboys. She settles in to live a lie—to discover the person behind her new identity while she mourns the death of Tressa Garnett—her given name at birth. However, keeping a distance from her ruggedly handsome, broad-shouldered, wise-cracking ranch foreman, isn’t easy. She struggles daily to hide her secret from Zach who demands answers. By telling him the truth, his life could also be in danger.
If trouble finds her, will she choose fight or flight? Can Zach set aside his own issues, or will his nightmares prevent him from doing what he was unknowingly hired to do?
Thunder growled in the near distance, and heavy clouds rolled in. “Cool. Let’s get this tent put up, cowgirl.”
She helped him unload the truck but wouldn’t let Stormy out. “Dave wanted us to get burner phones so we can’t be tracked. I haven’t seen anything out of the ordinary on my phone.”
“Wait. What? The guy thinks your phone has a tracker on it? Rebecca could’ve done it when she visited you. He’s already called you multiple times. What if he’s in on it? Get in the truck.” Zach tossed the bags back into the bed of the truck and sped out of the campground. Hard, blowing rain came down as they pulled out. He drove away from the mountain.
“What’s wrong? Where are we going?”
“Away from here. If someone is tracking your phone, or his—”
“I called his go-phone, but I get it. No camping.”
“We are camping. While we’re heading west, call him back. Write down the immediate numbers you need from your phone, then write down Tyler’s, Randy’s, Jake’s, and my mom’s from mine. When you’re finished, turn our phones off. I want to open yours up to look for a tracker, or for whatever the hell else could’ve been used.” He stopped at a gas station and checked her phone. “Bastards. I’m deleting this hidden app. Somebody added it to your phone.”
She was angry enough to growl like the wolves in the desert.
He checked his own. “There’s nothing on mine. I have a better idea. I’ll download a burner app for any other calls we make. Then Dave will think we’re using a disposable phone. The app acts as a burner phone. We can pay extra for a different area code and use a Boise number like we do now.”
Kimber sat back and sighed. Tiredness caught up with her. “Are you sure?”
“Yeah. No worries. Tyler uses the app.” After taking care of the app and the new number, he continued driving until they ended up in traffic miles away.
Now she’d made Zach suspicious of everything.
They headed back to the campsite and unloaded. “Randy gave us a blowup bed. Looks like we have to sleep together, partner.”
“No problem, Zach.” In this awful predicament, his words sparked a glow in her heart. She flashed him a smile and helped him make up the bed. “I’ll never be able to thank you for what you’re doing.”
Zach glanced at the bed and winked. “My heart’s the only thing you have to thank, sweetheart. Well, maybe one other body part.”
Here we are with February’s first “This or That” post. Please join me.
Back in the day I played video games with my boys and loved it. Here are a few to almost give away my age:
Mario and Super Mario Bros.
Pac-Man & Ms. Pac-Man
Space Invaders or Asteroids.
Remember early Atari Games? Ping pong or Pong?
Do you have memories of any of these games?
Oh, boy, I had to look these up to remember. Here’s a link to one site. They weren’t like the video games of today. When married, we played a NASCAR video game. I wrecked my car more than I raced. It wasn’t fun to keep losing. About ten years ago, I played a video game with my youngest son. I haven’t played one since.
At school, when kids earned free-time, I’d sit with them as they played an age-appropriate computer video game. They made me play sometimes, but I didn’t complain. It gave me a break too! We had small class sizes in this particular job–Special Education. Our students had learning disabilities in reading and math. One sixth grade boy had permission to bring his Sims game. Personally, I had to wonder about that one. It was an earlier version, though.
Growing up in an era before video games, I played many board games. To name a few I liked:
We had the game of Yahtzee, but I never liked it–admittedly, because I never learned how to play. My older brother was nine years older than me, so he never stuck around to play games. That left my younger brother to be my opponent. We were opponents in many ways besides in a game, as we never got along as kids. Now we do. He’s all I have left other than cousins, and my boys, of course.
It looks like I couldn’t choose a “This” or a “That” and instead chose both. How about you?
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