Hey, all. I’ve been absent here, but I’m still alive. I guess I ran out of things to say. 🤔 These images are from one of my “up north” cousins and used with his permission. Next week I’ll try to post ice sculpture pictures I took a couple of weeks ago. By the way, if the fountain is familiar, it’s because I posted a similar picture of it last winter.
I hope you’re all having fun. Apologies for neglecting your blogs, too. Stay safe. Thanks for visiting.
I’m back with another book releasing on the same day as my cowboy. Be sure to check out the bit of information I shared about this novella at the end of the post. Thanks!
Two More Days!
Coming October 3, 2019
Secret Santa’s Rundown Sleigh
Why does a stroke of bad luck happen now while on her way to Mackinaw City, Michigan on a blustery weekend? Two days before Christmas, Terra Westbrook and her young daughter have nowhere to stay. How can she convince her child that Santa will find her while sleeping in their car in a gas station parking lot—if they don’t die from hypothermia first? For her child’s sake, she accepts an invitation of a warm home from a resident in the village, but Terra soon learns, the kind person had no right to offer. However, she never expects the homeowner to be a lonely widower who hides tenderness and a big secret under his hard-hearted exterior.
Jude Overton isn’t interested in a relationship let alone a wife. He tried marriage once. Sometimes his heart still aches. Now, if only his sister would get the message to stop matchmaking him with single women. His life is complete raising his daughter. He’s doing the best he can to make her happy. Jude accepts this as enough until he gazes into a stranger’s melancholy eyes that hold an unspoken yearning. As the big day rolls around, he expects it’ll be just another day like the past five Christmases as a single dad, but maybe this year, he wants his sister to ignore his wishes.
I hope you’ll like something a little different from me this time. 💕
Guess what? This one isn’t a western romance. Don’t fret. I gave our hero horses. He needs a horse to pull his “rundown” sleigh! This one is a feel-good holiday romance novella—a two-hour read and a single title. The heat level in this little tale is toned down and not steamy like my other books and exactly what I wanted for this story. However, it does contain kissing, mild cursing, and alcoholic beverages.
Last year while I reminisced with one of my cousins “up north,” I had the idea for this story, and I ran with it until the end. 🙂
Oh, and it takes place in my home state in a small village where, as a child, I visited my grandma, aunts and uncles, and cousins quite often in the summer and sometimes in the winter. Although, I never met anyone like my hero while there. I remember Christmases up north and staying at my cousins house with five quilts on the bed because the only heat up there floated up through vents in the floor. Seriously, five quilts!
From there, it’s takes less than forty-five minutes to drive to the Mackinac Bridge–“Mighty Mac or Big Mac, if there isn’t a blizzard. Some of my cousins still live in and around the small village in Northern Lower Michigan so I never named the village in the book. Terra tells her little girl a story about her grandma while there. That story is true. Maybe, or likely, it’ll pop up in an excerpt.
Week 20: My Favorite Social Media Platforms, and why. However…don’t expect that one.
I’ve missed two straight weeks, but I couldn’t allow myself to miss a third. This week’s topic is about my favorite social media platforms and why. You can find my social media icons in the sidebar. I wrote on a similar theme about my Social Media Hangouts during last year’s Marketing For Romance Writers 52-Week Blog Challenge.
However, my head isn’t into week twenty’s topic, so I’m using the theme from last week’s topic for Week nineteen. I’m a romance writer but I can’t drum up one of my most favorite romantic memories without digging into a bittersweet past. With that said, I did manage to bring up something that allows me to remember the good times without too much pain.
I’m doing Week 19: My Most Romantic Memory
I began writing about a time my second husband surprised me with tickets to see the Blue Man Group at Briar Street Theater and a weekend in Chicago a month after we were married. We didn’t have a honeymoon due to our work constraints. He grew up in Chicago, so the city has always been special to him. As I started writing about the trip, another memory came to the surface. In its own way, this memory turned out to be more romantic than the surprise tickets and weekend spent in Chicago, and it covered more than one night. Why does this memory stand out? Mainly, because it does allow me to “remember the good times.”
What I’m writing about today started before we were married and continued until he began driving on the day shift. Sometimes his trip took two days. Did I mention he was a truck driver? My asphalt cowboy? This won’t seem romantic to most reading this, but as I think back on those evenings, yeah, this was romantic to me. What triggered the new romantic memory? The night after we left the theater and the Blue Man Group performance, he took a roundabout way before going back to where we stayed. The reason? Keep reading…
Every night while on the road driving in and out of Chicago, he’d call me for traffic reports so I could check traffic maps and direct him away from the heaviest traffic areas back to the highway toward home or where he had to go from there–sometimes south, sometimes north into Wisconsin. I’d never been to Chicago before other than the airport. The night after the performance, he hopped on different highways and roads in the area where I would direct him so I could see in person what I’d only seen on maps.
While driving on his job, he’d call at random to describe the sights and sounds of the city to me, but I could only picture them in my head. So, the night we were in Chicago together, he wanted me to see for myself, the city skylines, downtown at night, real traffic congestion, the full moon coming up over the city… Things he’d only described to me on the phone each night.
However, I never did see the spooky shipping yards he’d deliver to. There were sunrise and sunset descriptions over another city I’d never been to, or a phone call to tell me three tornados swept past him on the road in Green Bay, or backups because of an accident, and blizzards, and the time his dashboard caught fire in Michigan. He even got hit by a train once before I knew him and had a lifelong back injury because of it. There were so many stories.
After his final load, I’d direct him on his way out of town. He’d call me again after he got out of the city, stopped to eat, and then headed home. During those long drives home in the wee hours of the night, magic happened between us. We talked about everything, covering our own childhood, our kids—his and mine, and our future.
One night on his way home, he called to inquire about the weird lights in the sky somewhere in Indiana before coming into Michigan. Turns out they were the Northern Lights. I put the dog on a lease and headed outside to investigate. I would’ve missed them if he hadn’t called and asked me to check online to see if I could find out what they were.
The early morning hour when he had arrived home, we stood embraced in the backyard watching a phenomenon we’d never seen before, and I haven’t seen since. They were only white swaying lights, not the pretty colored lights that make photos famous, but we didn’t care.
Anyway, to me, talking with him for hours on the way home was romantic in itself. Our conversations went in many different directions, and all I’ll say is there were some nights he couldn’t get home fast enough. This is a good place to bring this post to a close.
I don’t often show music videos on my blog anymore, but after writing this, I have to share a particular song. I swear, he reached down from Heaven and gave these words and this song to Jason Aldean to sing to remind me of the “good times” because they weren’t all good. This is why I call these memories bittersweet. Truly, he could’ve written these words for us right down to driving in Chicago and to my picture on the dashboard. (I have that picture now.) Ribbons in my hair, well, maybe they were really ribbons on the front of a nightgown…
Playing with another Plinky Prompt today: Who’s the most famous person you’ve ever met?I do need to change this a little: Who are the most famous people you’ve ever met?
Well, my friends that would have to be the former Detroit Red Wings captain Steve Yzerman and his team. (Steve was still the captain at this event.) It was a benefit banquet for Hospice and all the players were there, including the recent, now former captain Nick Lidstrom. Nicklas has the most beautiful blue eyes I think I’ve ever seen, and a smile to knock your socks off. Actually, I gave one of my book heroes his eyes. It doesn’t stop there because I met the whole team, including the owner Mike Ilitch and his wife. They conversed with me like we were old friends, and Mike signed my jersey. Karen Newman was even there but we didn’t speak. A large crowd swarmed around her. She’s the gorgeous blonde who sings the National Anthem at their home games. If my memory proves me right the coach, Scotty Bowman, also joined the guys.
Oh, the pictures I have are grand. Of course, like all my past photos they’re printed out and packed away somewhere. My signed jersey is all I have for proof right now until I can find and scan my pictures.
The banquet was totally awesome. At the time Darren McCarty was also one of my favorite players. His signature was the first on my jersey. What a terrific man he was that night. He and Kris Draper were playing a video game, and I think Chris Osgood (goalie) was there too. I patiently waited beside Darren. I found the nerve to ask if I could have a photo with him. He said, “Sure, when I’m finished.” I continued to wait, and wait…thinking it probably wouldn’t happen because he was really involved with the game, and after all, he was Darren McCarty, part of the “grind line”. The next thing I knew he turned to me, put his arm around my shoulder and squeezed me tight, and said, “Okay,” and smiled a big smile. Do I have to tell you how fast my heart beat? Which cloud I found my feet on?
Brendan Shanahan was there too. Yes, we’re talking about the team that won back-to-back Stanley Cups. Federov came later. Larry Murphy has the cutest smile. I don’t think I’ve ever been in a room with that many handsome gentlemen. These big burly men, who can check another player into oblivion, rip their gloves off and go one-on-one or five, can send a puck high into the stands– mingled there altogether in one room as perfect gentleman. What a handsome bunch.
It took days for me to come down from Cloud nine.
The former Captain Steve Yzerman is the friendliest, most down-to-earth man you’d ever want to meet. This banquet took place at Game Spot at Great Lakes Crossing in Auburn Hills, MI. It was a grand-opening. I don’t think it’s there anymore. One of the games was a motorcycle ride where you actually sat on a bike in front of a screen. You looked at a screen and had to steer to stay on the road you were riding on. You’ve probably seen this with race cars where you get in a car and try to stay on the track. Well, standing there by Steve that night made for one of my most memorable pictures. It looked like I was on the back of a motorcycle with Stevie. (That’s what we Wing’s fans call him.) Don’t think I didn’t play on that for awhile!
The whole night stands at the top of my list of best memories in my life. You won’t see some of these guys on the ice anymore, but the next time you do see a rough and tough hockey player, remember who they are when they’re out there serving their public.
Now, shall I continue on about the time I met Dale Earnhardt Jr.–Jimmy Johnson–Isaiah Thomas? A celebrity news anchor—Alan Trammel– Ernie Harwell…? There are more….
If you’re a Steve Yzerman fan, I think you’ll enjoy this video tribute to his career. You know, for the memories. You’ll find another for Nicklas Lidstrom at his link above. He retired this year, 2012.
How about you? Who is the most famous person you’ve ever met?
This day will never be back again. Summer is officially over. Not many more hot days and sticky nights. Did you want to see summer end? I didn’t. Summer is special. A time of regrouping for so many of us. It’s a time for beaches, sandals, shorts, baseball, bull riding and whatever else you choose for your summer fun. Winter seems so long and spring is unpredictable, but summer is summer and too short sometimes. That brings us to autumn.
Do you have a favorite season? Mine would be autumn. There’s a lot to love about the fall, especially if you live in the Midwest like I do, where the seasons have distinct types of changes. Deciduous trees with their changing colors and shedding leaves gives the area a completely different look and feel. Once you notice the first maple leaves change to yellow, then it starts a changin’ quite quickly afterward.
Next thing you know, we have a whole neighborhood full of colorful trees then leaves crunching under foot when they drop. We might smell the familiar odor of burning leaves. The crisp air in the evening, a starry night and a harvest moon, and apple cider seem to speak of an ending, a preparation for a long winter ahead.
Autumn days can be sunny and still hot on occasion, and we can always look forward to Indian summer where we have one last shot at nice weather, reminding us we should have flown south before the howl of November winds. So now that autumn is here, it makes me a little sad, reminding me of short days and long nights. Life quiets down a little and we ease into a different kind of schedule.
Before long the window scrapers will be brought out, and snow tires might be installed. De-icer for the door locks should be searched for and put in a place we’ll remember for the first time we wake to a sheet of ice covering our vehicles. Unless you have a garage, of course. Chances are you don’t have a garage at work, so go buy your lock de-icer. Don’t depend on your key fob to open your door. Yes, this tip comes from experience. Another tip- Don’t keep this de-icer in your car.
Take a few minutes this month, and enjoy the cooler temperatures, the starry nights and the full moons. Visit the beach once or twice more, and stick your toes in the warm sand on a sunny day. Make enough memories of this summer and autumn to last you through the long winter of 2013. Remember we’ll never have this day to do over.
Tomorrow I have to go back to work. In Michigan, we don’t start until after Labor Day. It’s supposed to promote tourism. That might work if the gas prices weren’t so high now. Anyway, I am returning after being laid-off. In June I received a letter saying that there would be a lack of work for this school year; therefore, I wouldn’t be needed. Okay, it was the third time in three years for me anyway, so it wasn’t a surprise. I’ve only lived in West Michigan for four years. Sometimes I wonder why I left a twenty-six year stable job to come here. I did it to marry a man who lives here. Little did I know work would be so bad in this area. Now, I take it one year at a time.
It will be good to go back and see friends and students. I’m in a new position this year. They received extra funds from Title 1; therefore, I get to return! I haven’t slept in much so getting up early shouldn’t be a problem. The problem will be going to bed at night. I’m a night person, and a writer, and nighttime is when I write, mostly. We didn’t go on vacation this summer, and I don’t have to leave lake property or a cabin in the woods to come back. I shouldn’t have a problem at all. That probably isn’t so with others who love their summer vacations, and the “no summer schedule” to give up. Since I didn’t go wild all summer and didn’t do anything special, it won’t be hard to go back to work. It will be hard to leave my writing, though.
MONEY! That is one of my biggest motivations, other than loving the type of job I do. Yes, I was laid-off, and I did apply for unemployment. Guess what? I missed it by seven cents. So, all summer I didn’t receive unemployment conpensation. I applied for an extension, which was recently reinstated. Last week I was informed that I qualifed for an extension of unemployment benefits for eight weeks. That’s four checks. Now I’m going back to work. Hmmm, how does this work? I’ll know tomorrow when I call them. There’s a form to fill out, too. My employer received one. How confusing that will be to them, knowing I am coming back to work, and filing for an extension. Again, I wonder how this will work. Will I receive it for the three weeks left of lay-off after they approved my extension? I’ll find out tomorrow. I’ll find out everything tomorrow, when I go Back to Work After Summer.
You heard about the earthquake this morning… Well, I felt it here in west Michigan, near Kalamazoo. There I was, sitting enjoying my first cup of coffee, kind of stretched out on the couch. Then the couch started moving like it was floating on waves. At first I thought it was my body shaking, which scared me in itself! I sat up immediately, but it didn’t stop shaking. Then my first thought was an earthquake, of course. We don’t usually have earthquakes here, but on occasion we’ll feel a tremor or two, but not often. I tried to see if my ceiling fan was moving, but it was too dark in my room. Well, after what seemed longer than 34 seconds, it just stopped as suddenly as it started.
A short time later my husband got up and I told him he was going to think I was crazy, but the couch just moved and shook. He said, “So did the bed!” We turned on the news, and sure enough, there it was– 5.4 on the Richter Scale. Later in the day they changed it to 5.2. It was kind of interesting to say the least, but not something I want to see a lot of. Some years ago my son moved to California, and I worried about earthquakes, and him being in one. He’s in northern California and has a tremor now and then, but he’s always been away when it’s happened. Today he told me that I’ve felt an earthquake stronger than him, and he’s out there where it happens a lot! All in all, I didn’t hear of any damage here, but I know it even went more north of where I live, and then west from me.
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