Posted in Health, Holiday Posts

My New Year Resolutions :)

Hello everyone! I hope all is well with you and that you all had a wonderful Christmas. I’m back today to talk about the New Year. It seems like everyone sets New Year resolutions or goals and I’m no exception. This year I’m planning to get a lot done. I’m almost finished with my Coming of Age novel and I’m really excited about it. Of course, I’ll have to do some self-editing but the first draft is almost done.

When that’s done, I’m going to start two different books. I want to work on Super Spies number four and the sequel to my Coming of Age novel. I have got the sequel pretty much mapped out in my head and I have an idea for the Super Spies story, but it needs to be fleshed out.

I’m going to do all that and spend as much time with my kids as I can. They’re getting more and more independent every day and soon they’ll reach that stage where it’s not cool to hang out with Mom and Dad anymore. So, I’m going to get as much time with them as I can. Sigh.  They’re at such fun ages right now! 🙂

Another area that I’m going to work on is my health. I’m going to continue working out and running. I want to get back into shape and yes, that was on my list for this year, but I didn’t make it as big of a priority as I should have. J It was an easy thing to blow off, especially when I was so into my story. So this year, I’m making it more of a priority.

I’ve purchased a Pilates DVD and I figure if I rotate running with a Pilates workout I’ll be getting the best of both worlds. The cardio from running and the resistance training my muscles need from the DVD. I’m also hoping to lose about ten pounds.

So unfortunately, I’m changing my eating habits. Boo! Not something I’m looking forward to, but it’s a necessity as I get older and my metabolism slows down. Sigh. Growing old sure isn’t any fun. 🙂

Well there you have it, my New Year’s Resolutions for 2014. What are yours? Leave a comment; I’d love to read them. 🙂

Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

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Posted in Holiday Posts

It’s almost Christmas!

Our kitty Lily. This was her first Christmas Tree :)
Our kitty Lily. This was her first Christmas Tree 🙂

Hello everyone! I hope all is well with you! Christmas Day is almost upon us and I’m excited! I can’t wait to see my kids opening up their presents. It’s a time of family and celebration. I hope it’s that way for you as well.

At this time of year, I always look back and wonder where the time has gone. When you have kids, it just seems like everything goes by so fast. My kids are growing at an alarming rate. My oldest will be nine in a week! Nine years old! It seems like just yesterday I was changing his diapers. Sigh.

Luckily, they both still believe in Santa. I think it will be the last year for my oldest, though. One of his friends informed him Santa wasn’t real. I, of course, emphatically denied this. For the most part, he believes me, but he wants to set up a video camera to catch Santa in the act. He wants to use this evidence to convince his friend that Santa is real.

How can I argue with this logic? After all, aren’t I trying to raise critical thinkers? Don’t I want them to question things that don’t make sense? My husband and I have painted ourselves right into a corner in this debate. We’ve agreed to his idea. I’m hoping my son will forget about this request in the excitement of the evening and we’ll “forget” to set up the camera.

Otherwise, we’re going to have to set it up and have it malfunction in some way. 😉 In fact, I have it all planned out. When the video camera doesn’t do its job, I’ll ask him, “Well the milk and cookies are gone, isn’t that enough evidence that Santa was here?”

I don’t know what he’ll say, but I’m hoping it works! I’d love them to believe in Santa at least for one more year. 🙂 I love their innocent excitement even when they pull me out of bed at the crack of dawn. We spend so much time shopping and wrapping that I wish the unwrapping and squeals of excitement would last a little bit longer. I guess it’s like that for everything though. The preparation and anticipation before the event takes more time than the event itself. Have you ever noticed that?

Anyway, I’ll be bleary eyed with a squirrels nest for hair as I try to catch images of my kidlets in all their Christmas glory on camera. These moments are fleeting and I’m trying to capture as many of them as I can.

Not only is Christmas a time of celebration, it’s also a time of appreciation. Well at least for me it is. It’s a time to remember friends and family and give thanks just for having them in our lives. I want to send a special thank you to my family and friends just for being who they are. 🙂 You’re all very special to me and I appreciate each and every one of you.

I’d also like to say thank you to my friends that I’ve met via Social Media. Whether I’ve connected with you on Facebook or Twitter, I’ve met some pretty amazing people.

I want to send a huge thank you to my author friends. I’ve never met a more helpful and positive group of people and it warms my heart when I think of them. They’ve helped me so much and I appreciate it!

If I could, I’d give you all a hug, because a hug can communicate more than words!

Sorry, this post got mushier than I anticipated. 🙂  I tend to gush at this time of year!

Anyway, I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! If you’d like to share a special Christmas memory feel free, leave a comment! I’d love to read it! 🙂

Our Kitty Lily. This was her first Christmas Tree. :) She's such a little ham! :)
Our Kitty Lily. This was her first Christmas Tree. 🙂 She’s such a little ham! 🙂
Posted in Guest Author, promotion

Please welcome Elaine Cantrell as she shares her Yummy Orange-Pineapple Salad with us!

Each and every Christmas I try to find new and wonderful recipes for my family to enjoy, but this dish is one they demand every year.  Technically, I guess it’s a frozen salad, but it can just as easily be dessert.  It has buttermilk in it which might make some people hesitate to try it, but don’t worry. I promise you won’t know it’s even there. I always serve it in a fancy cut glass bowl and add different garnishes so it looks as good as it tastes.

Orange-Pineapple Salad

1 20 oz can crushed pineapple

1 TBSP sugar

1 6 oz. orange gelatin

c cups buttermilk

1 oz cool whip thawed

1 cup of pecans

Combine pineapple and sugar in a saucepan.

Bring to a boil, stirring occassionally.

Remove from heat, add gelatin, stirring until dissolved.

Fold in whipped topping, chill until firm.

This sounds awesome! Now, let’s learn a little bit more about Elaine’s New Release!

Blue52 (1)“First Lady Kills President Lovinggood”
December 5, 2018
Thirty years later, Hank Lovinggood embarks on a quest to prove his mother’s innocence and punish the killers who took his family from him. Together Hank and lovely physicist Dr. Kathryn Sinclair confront an implacable, twisted, and merciless enemy who’ll do whatever it takes to hide the truth forever.

 

 

 

Here are the buy links to Elaine’s book! It sounds like a great story! 🙂

 

Now let’s learn a little bit more about Elaine!

elainespictureElaine Cantrell was born and raised in South Carolina.  She has a Master’s Degree in Personnel Services from ClemsonUniversity and is a member of Alpha Delta Kappa, an international honorary sorority for women educators.  She is also a member of Romance Writers of America and EPIC authors.  She is married to her college sweetheart and has two sons and three grandchildren.  Besides writing she enjoys, quilting, gardening, and collecting vintage Christmas ornaments.  You can contact Elaine at her web site at http://www.elainecantrell.com.

Thanks for sharing your recipe and your book with us today!

Posted in Guest Author, promotion

J. F. Jenkins is sharing her New Release with Us!

Please welcome J.F. Jenkins she’s sharing her new release “Displaced” with us and there’s a giveaway too! Just click the link at the end of this Post! 🙂

Displaced 300x450

Chevelle Donahue thought going into work would be just like any other boring day at the mall. Sure, there was her annoying co-worker Wicken Sanders, and a promotional visit from teen heartthrob Timber Hudson, to watch and keep her entertained. But who was she kidding? Working retail was lame no matter what happened.

A terrorist attack changes everything – an attack from aliens of all things. The patrons are given two options: comply or else. Complying means giving in to a new set of rules and changing her entire life. “Or else” means she has no chance of going home again.

She must figure out the truth behind why the aliens are holding everyone hostage. In doing so, she risks her chance at freedom – but by the time she learns what’s really happening, she might not want it.

 To enter the giveaway click the link below!

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/05d8964/

Buylinks:

Amazon:

http://amazon.com/Displaced-The-Achlivan-Cycle-ebook/dp/B00DTLOZ30

Barnes and Noble:

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/displaced-j-f-jenkins/1117563875?ean=9781490598093

Posted in Guest Author

Please Welcome Linda Weaver Clarke today!

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you! I’ve got Linda Weaver here today and she’s telling us a little bit about herself and her book!

Here’s a little bit about  Linda!

Linda Weaver Clarke

Linda Weaver Clarke travels throughout the United States, teaching a “Family Legacy Workshop” at libraries, encouraging people to write their family history and autobiography. Clarke is the author of several historical “sweet” romances and a mystery/adventure series that has a touch of romance.

Now for the interview!

When did you first learn that you wanted to be a writer?

It all started when I began writing my own ancestor’s stories. I fly all over the U.S., teaching people how to write their family history or their own autobiography. I believe it’s very important to teach our children their heritage. We are the people we are because of our ancestors. It’s up to us to write these experiences down. Our children need to be proud of their ancestors. After writing my own ancestors’ stories, I couldn’t stop writing, so I turned to historical “sweet” romance and then to mystery/adventure novels. To learn more about what I teach and read sample stories of my ancestors, you can visit my website at www.lindaweaverclarke.com.

Tell us a little about your writing process.

I usually have an outline. That helps me a great deal so I can feel organized. Many times I’ll use most of the things on my list for my story, but not everything. As I get to know my characters and understand how they really feel, then I know if something I’ve put in my outline will work or not. The secret is getting to know your characters inside and out.

Are you working on anything right now, and if you are tell us a little bit about it.

I usually write “sweet” romances or mysteries, but I decided to do something different this time. I have just completed my first children’s book. It’s called Bedtime Stories: In each of these stories, a mother helps her little girl understand her fears at night.

Shadows In My Room: Kayla sees shadows in her room that disturb her. Her mother answers all her questions about each shadow that she points to, and helps her to calm down and go to sleep.

What’s That Noise: Amber hears noises that disturb her such as the wind and thunder. Her mother teaches Amber to use her imagination by turning something fearful into something fun.

If you could have dinner with any author, who would it be and why?

I would love to have dinner with the four men who wrote the Gospels in the Bible. That would be so awesome to ask them about the things they wrote and what it was like to know the Savior. Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John wrote an account that really touches my heart. I would love to meet them and have dinner with them and ask many questions.

Tell us something unusual about yourself that no one else knows.

Well, I’m just too open to have any secrets, but I can tell you something that most people don’t know about me. I have six daughters and no sons. Even though my husband was overrun with females, he’s now got 3 son-in-laws and 3 grandsons to help the balance. (I also have 2 granddaughters.) Last, but not least, I decided to go back to college while in my fifties and I graduated in 2002. It was a wonderful experience. I feel it is quite an accomplishment in my later years.

Thanks for sharing with us Linda! It’s always fun to get to know another author. And below is Linda’s children’s book! It certainly sounds like a great book for kids who have bedtime fears! Check it out!

Shadows cover

Two Bedtime Stories: In each of these stories, a mother helps her little girl understand her fears at night. Shadows In My Room: Kayla sees shadows in her room that disturb her. Her mother answers all her questions about each shadow that she points to, and helps her to calm down and go to sleep. What’s That Noise: Amber hears noises that disturb her such as the wind and thunder. Her mother teaches Amber to use her imagination by turning something fearful into something fun.

Thanks for stopping by today and if you have a question or comment for Linda, please leave a comment! 🙂

Posted in Guest Author, Uncategorized

Please Welcome Heather Gray as she shares her Cheescake Recipe with us!

Please welcome Heather Gray! She’s sharing her yummy Cheescake Recipe with us! Take it away Heather!

Christmas cooking is always tricky at my house.  My husband loves pecan pie.  My son can’t stand it.  My son lives for pumpkin pie.  I love HIM enough to have taught him how to make a mean pumpkin pie, but you’re not going to ever find me taking a bite of the stuff.  I’m the only one who likes apple pie, but I don’t like it enough to go through all the work of making it only to then be stuck with all the calories of eating it.  I’ve only found one thing that we all like and agree on.  So, no matter what else graces the dessert table at Christmas, there will always be cheesecake.  This is my mom’s recipe.  Though I’ve occasionally tried a different just to experiment, I always come back to this one.  I’ve been baking this cheesecake almost as long as I’ve been married, which is just south of twenty years.  Whatever you do, though, don’t ask me about the crust.  You’re on your own for that!  I’ve done everything from graham
cracker crust, to chocolate crust, to pecan caramel crust.  I like them all, but crust doesn’t come  naturally to me.  It never turns out quite the way I want, and I often end up buying the pre-made ones in the grocery store.  Don’t judge me.  Until you’ve tasted the cheesecake, that is.  🙂
Cheesecake
Ingredients
2 8-ounce packages of cream cheese, softened.  (Leave at room temperature to soften.  Do NOT take the microwave shortcut.)
2 eggs
3/4 c. sugar
2 tsp vanilla (If you’ve got a less expensive imitation vanilla, you’ll want a generous tablespoon instead)
Directions
Pre-heat yoru oven to 350.
Beat cream cheese slightly.
Add egg, sugar, and vanilla.
Beat until light and fluffy.  (You might be tempted to eat it by the spoonful at this point, but I’ll remind you of all the salmonella warnings about uncooked eggs and that you will not have enough left for your cheesecake if you go too crazy with that spoon right now.)
Poor into crust.  (This makes a fairly generous serving.  If you have a shallow pie crust, you’ll definitely end up with leftover filling.  If you’re craftier than I am, you can make little mini-cheesecakes in a muffin tin with the extra filling.)
Bake until firm (not jiggly), usually 25 minutes — although this will vary a lot depending on your oven.
Refrigerate for 8 hours before serving.  (Don’t skip this step.  You do need to bake and then refrigerate.  I always bake it the day before so there’s less stress on Christmas Day.)
Now check out Heather’s Christmas Story!
Nowhere for Christmas_750X500

Back Cover Blurb:

Anything can happen on the road to Nowhere…

A journalist and single mother, Avery is used to being in control, though she tries to remind herself to let God take lead in her life. Eli, her teenage son, is happy as long as he has his music, plenty of food, and the occasional adult on which to practice his rapier wit.  Gavin, a virtual stranger, is a photojournalist who mysteriously disappeared from the scene a few years ago.

The trio ends up together for a Christmas road trip to the small town of Nowhere.  An eight hour drive in a rental car turns into two days of misadventure and calamity as bad luck stalks them.  They get a flat tire, the bumper falls off, the car overheats – and that’s only the beginning! Along the way they meet some interesting people – from a bait shop owner who moonlights as a mechanic to a chatty preacher’s wife and a highway patrolman whose wife and mother can’t agree on the best way to remove a skunk’s stink.

Hungry, cold, and tired, the three finally arrive in Nowhere only to discover the town is nothing like they expected. Reaching their destination, it turns out, doesn’t necessarily mean the journey has ended.

Author Bio:

Aside from her long-standing love affair with coffee, Heather’s greatest joys in life are her relationship with her Savior, her family, and writing.  Years ago, she decided it would be better to laugh than yell.  Heather carries that theme over into her writing where she strives to create characters that experience both the highs and lows of life and, through it all, find a way to love God, embrace each day, and laugh out loud right along with her.

Buy Links:

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Astraea Press

Smashwords

Kobo

Where to Find Me:

My Website – http://www.heathergraywriting.com

My Blog – http://www.heathergraywriting.com/blog

Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/heathergraywriting

Twitter – http://twitter.com/LaughDreamWrite

Goodreads –  http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4051662.Heather_Gray

Posted in promotion

“Warm Your Heart” Christmas Blog Tour from Astraea Press!

“Warm Your Heart” Christmas Blog Tour from Astraea Press 🙂

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from Astraea Press! We love this time of year and our catalogue reflects it. We have lots of Christmas/holiday/winter books we’d love for you guys to check out.

Is it the cooler weather? The fires in the fireplace? Family gatherings? Or our sweethearts under the mistletoe (yeah, I’m guessing mistletoe too 😉 ) Whatever the cause, we want to celebrate Christmas and this holiday season with you. This is the second stop on a two week tour. Check out the rafflecopter for a chance to win a free Astraea Press Christmas book of YOUR choice (eep!). There is also a chance to win a $50 Amazon gift card!

I want to thank Lisa and all the other blogs who have offered to help. All of their facebook pages and/or twitter are on the rafflecopter. I hope you get a chance to visit them all.

So… MERRY CHRISTMAS from Astraea Press and our authors. We love our readers! Thanks for a great year.

~Kelly from AP
So… MERRY CHRISTMAS from Astraea Press and our authors. We love our readers! Thanks for a great year.

~Kelly from AP

Here’s a sample of our Christmas books. We have two books for you guys today. Both are winter books.

From best selling author, Nell Dixon
The Cinderella Substitute by Nell Dixon
In the two years since the tragic car crash that killed his fiancée, Nathanial (Nate) Mayer has successfully avoided another relationship. His family and especially his twin sister Nathalie are worried. Jennifer (Jenni) Blake is Nate’s personal assistant. Hired after the accident, she has her own problems to deal with, including the deaths of her adoptive parents and the debts incurred by their nursing care. But those difficulties pale into insignificance when Jenni finally traces her birth mother…
Buy Links
~*~*~*~
From Ariella Moon
Spell Fire by Ariella Moon
New school. New friends. New reputation. High school sophomore Ainslie Avalon-Bennett works hard to hide her Crazy Girl past. But as long as her best friend’s disappearance remains unsolved, she can’t shake the depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder that once landed her in a mental ward.
Ainslie’s tenuous control over her life shatters when her warring parents ditch her at Christmas. While they take a cruise to “work things out,” Ainslie must spend the holiday with her aunt and uncle, owners of a struggling Mystery School and occult store. Plunged into the world of fire fortunes, dragons, entity eaters, and an ailing spell book, Ainslie is well beyond her comfort zone. Then she meets Thor, a seventeen year-old dragon shaman. He spikes her pulse and calms her OCD. But will she lose him once he discovers her past? Or will Thor’s deadly secret, hidden in plain view, be their undoing?
Buy Links
ENTER TO WIN A $50 AMAZON GIFT CARD or A FREE AP
CHRISTMAS BOOK OF YOUR CHOICE.

a Rafflecopter giveaway