A Party on Facebook, on September 30, from 3 to 10 pm Eastern. Celebrate with us today! Giveaways, Games, and More! http://facebook.com/SweetRomanceReads
SWEET CHRISTMAS KISSES, released on September 30.
*** 14 Full-length Novels & Novellas ***
Available as a boxed set for a limited time only On Sale Now for only 0.99 -
Regular Price 6.99 A saving of more than 75% than if books purchased separatelySRR+Xmas

This holiday season, warm your heart with 14 Sweet Christmas Kisses, a bundle of PG-rated romance novels and novellas from USA Today, national bestselling, and award-winning authors. Sweet Christmas Kisses takes you from small-town USA to England, Scotland, and even Ecuador; from the beach to snow-capped mountains, and to the wild–sometimes magical–west. The Sweet Christmas Kisses bundle will bring you laughter, tears, and always joy, for more than 1600 pages.
Foreword by New York Times bestselling author, Brenda Novak.
Amazon: http://amzn.to/1CEhxBg
Kobo: http://bit.ly/1AzwYH3
Barnes & Noble: http://indi.uno/1mvOISk
My contribution to the big box is a sweet comedy novel set on a cruise.
Her Christmas Cruise small
Vacationing on a cruise is heaven for me. I relax and watch the people around. Honeymooners in love, retired couples enjoying their free time, seniors fulfilling a bucket list. Many love stories start in the romantic atmosphere provided by a cruise. HER CHRISTMAS CRUISE was written during a Mediterranean cruise.
Let me introduce you to the 14 novellas in the big box.
Sweet Kisses Final
Almost Perfect Christmas by Donna Fasano, USA Today bestselling author. Aaron wants to give his daughter a perfect Christmas and elicits Christy’s help to do it. When they’re talked into a make-believe wedding, can a real one be far behind?
Mistletoe in Maine (Holiday Brides Book #3) by Ginny Baird, Award-winning and National bestselling author. A single mom takes her kids on vacation in Maine and meets a handsome innkeeper, a young widower with a teenage son. A winter wonderland love story about faith and new beginnings.
The Army Doctor’s Christmas Baby (Army Doctor’s Baby Series) by Helen Scott Taylor, Award-winning and National bestselling author. An army surgeon with twins falls for the nanny, but will her secret destroy their happiness? Stormy Times by Beate Boeker. International author. A rock star, vet, and puppy meet in a blizzard and sparks fly…
The Christmas Promise by Melinda Curtis, USA Today Recommended Read, Award-winning and National bestselling author. When a chocolate heiress bumps into a wounded warrior during Christmas, chaos ensues thanks in part to three fairy godmothers…er, a trio of meddlesome nuns.
Merry Christmas, Darling by Denise Devine, Award-winning author. A desperate bachelor enlists his neighbor to pose as his wife to appease his dying mother and unexpectedly finds love under the mistletoe.
Some Christmas Magic by Raine English, Award-winning and National bestselling author. She’s been dumped… He wants to win her back… A last-ditch effort to save her Christmas might result in her most romantic holiday ever.
Christmas in White Oak by Aileen Fish, National bestselling author. Forced to face his past, a young widower tries to grant the Christmas wish of his first love.
Lucky Break Christmas: Homecoming by Patricia Forsythe, Award-winning author. Their marriage is in trouble…until a judge, two kids, a quirky hometown of old friends, and the Christmas spirit of forgiveness step in.
Beach Christmas by Grace Greene, Award-winning and National bestselling author. Jessie Dawson hopes to arrange the perfect beach Christmas for her family, but when it all falls apart a special delivery from the past may inspire a new Christmas wish.
Her Christmas Cruise by Mona Risk, Award-winning and National bestselling author. The perfect fiancé is a cheater and the Christmas wedding is off, but the would-be honeymoon cruise may offer Julia a dream companion.
A Scottish Christmas by Roxanne Rustand, Award-winning author of over thirty novels. When Lucy Davis receives a mysterious letter inviting her to the Scottish Highlands to receive an inheritance, she expects to deal with it quickly–until she discovers it’s a historic B&B with a handsome, mysterious resident who might just be the man of her dreams.
Small Town Christmas by Magdalena Scott, National bestselling author. Past loves, a family in mourning, a little boy with a big heart. Christmas in Serendipity, Indiana is full of surprises!
By Christmas (Covington Falls Chronicles, Book 4) by Kristin Wallace, Award-winning and National bestselling author. She was a jilted bride. He’s her ex-fiancé’s brother. She’s trying to save Christmas. He’s disrupting her peace on earth. Together they find a holiday happy ending

A Balanced Life

Posted by Pamela Varnado | 2:18 PM | , , | 2 comments »

I just returned from the Ancient City Romance Author’s Conference in St. Augustine, Florida. Had a fabulous time! I’m supercharged again and ready to move forward with my writing goals.

But, first I have a question for myself.

How do I remain focused on my publishing goals and still enjoy the other things that give meaning to my life? In order words, how do I achieve balance? I desire a successful writing career and am willing to work hard to achieve it, but I need more than just the high of finishing a book.

Inside, I cringe whenever I hear authors comment that they don’t have time to do anything but write. I enjoy watching television. It relaxes me. Without it I feel like I’m on a restrictive diet. Eventually, the craving demands to be fed. And whether it’s food or TV, the results are the same. Instead of a gluttonous feast of chocolate cake or butter pecan ice cream, I spend hours sitting in front of a television screen when I should be writing.  This leads to guilt.

So how do I find balance?

I plan my day. I write first thing in the morning until about one p.m., and then take care of personal tasks like bill paying, exercising, and phone calls in the afternoon. Early evening is dedicated to preparing dinner and house cleaning. After dining with my husband, I watch a few hours of television. I often write on Saturday. Sunday is dedicated to my spiritual needs. This type of schedule works for me. It brings inner peace. Without calmness, I struggle to write or do anything well.

If working on your writing dreams is enough for you, that’s great. You’re doing what you love. If not, carve out a little time, even if it’s only an hour a week to do something else that brings you joy. In return, life will reward you with not only peace, but an abundance of creativity.  



Chartered in 1767, but in operation much earlier, the Royal White Hart Lodge No. 2 is the second oldest Masonic lodge in North Carolina, after St. John’s Masonic Lodge No. 1, in Wilmington (chartered in 1756). Before the hall was erected in Halifax, lodge founders met in homes and rented rooms in inns. One of the earliest taverns mentioned as a meeting place was The Sign of the Thistle. Because of prominent Halifax resident Joseph Montfort, the Royal White Hart Lodge has special significance in the history of Freemasonry, and the history of North Carolina. On January 14, 1771, Joseph Montfort was appointed “Provincial Grand Master of and for America” by the Duke of Beaufort, Grand Master of England. He then established early masonic lodges across the state. Montfort held many titles, among them: Treasurer of the Province of North Carolina, Colonel of Colonial troops, patriot and Freemason. He is the only Grand Master in America. Born in England in 1724, he died in NC on March 25, 1776 and is buried east of the Royal White Hart Lodge. 1776 seems a rather propitious time to die with the dramatic events unfolding in America.

Wite Hart Lodge Number 2

Rarely open to the public, the Royal White Hart Lodge is hosting the book signing for my new release, Traitor’s Legacy, in Historic Halifax, on Oct. 11th. Not only that, but the lodge is being repainted inside and out in colonial colors and appropriately decorated for the event. Sumptuous refreshments will be served inside the lodge, while the old town comes to life with 18th century music, reenactors, and other period displays, I am honored by the privilege of having my signing here. For more information on the event visit: http://www.nchistoricsites.org/halifax/halifax.htm

Colonial American historical romance novel
Colonial American historical romance novel

Genealogy, Scrapbooking, & Card Making
By Ashley Ladd
When I’m not writing or reading, I like to hunt find my ancestors and learn about their lives. Whereas my mother’s family enjoys staying in touch with relatives and telling family stories, my father’s family is very secretive. You’d think they were guarding Fort Knox.
Cowboy Grandpa Walter Lahmann.jpgTo the left is a picture of my “Cowboy Grandpa” standing on his homestead in Montana in 1918. I love this photograph. Below is my other grandpa during WWI during his service in Germany.
I spend a lot of time on Ancestry.com finding photographs like this one, but when I’ve hit brick walls I’ve also been known to haunt graveyards in my family’s hometown of Cincinnati. Not just the offices of the big graveyards like Vine Street Hill and Spring Grove Cemetery but searching the headstones themselves for clues in the smaller cemeteries when I hit blocks.
I’ve found a couple long lost cousins through message boards on genealogy sites who have shared gems of information, who are now my Facebook friends, who continue to share historical photographs and stories.
Walter Charles Braun WWI scrapbook page.jpgBecause I found so many awesome pictures scrapbooking seemed like a natural extension to my genealogy addiction. Once I found so many terrific photographs I wanted to showcase them and make sure my progeny would know everybody’s stories. I became a rabid avid photographer, snapping photos right and left of my kids and grandkids until they begged me to stop. I want our ancestors to know our generation too.
Crystal.jpgTo the left is my granddaughter a few years ago. Saturday nights I often get together with my scrapbooking buddies and we put together pages. I’ve spent countless hours  (and money) on this hobby. It’s not cheap but it’s so much fun. Often I join scrapbook challenges on Scrapbook.com as well that prompts me to take new photographs and try new scrapbooking techniques. I’m by no means an expert but I hope I’ve done a good job being our family’s historian.
An extension of scrapbooking was card making. It’s fun to play with glue, paper, ink, and glittery stuff. Sometimes I make my own birthday and Christmas cards. Here are some samples:
Monster birthday card.jpg                                                TwoReindeerChristmasCard_5.jpg

The monster card was a birthday card I made for my granddaughter’s 7th birthday. The reindeer card is a Christmas card.

I got a lot of practice coming up with spiffy titles for the scrapbook pages which should help me come up with good titles for my books.

 Welcome Cyndi Faria,

First, I want to thank Mary Marvella for asking me to share my good news!
Hi everyone! *waving* I’m Cyndi Faria, and I write sweet, sexy, and always satisfying paranormal and contemporary romance. Of course, I love connecting with readers! Follow me on:

Okay, now that we’re connected, let’s start the fun!

On Tuesday, September 23rd—only one day away *Squee*—I’ll be releasing book 1 in my Whisper Cove Series, titled Spirit Awakened.


Jake Mitchell is a neurologist who doesn't trust what can't be explained. That is, until he moves to the rumor-haunted town of Whisper Cove and meets a beautiful nurse named Faith Cabrillo. When Faith awakens Jake's sixth sense that defies science, he's thrown into a world of passion, spirits, and a centuries-old lovers’ curse that can never be broken....

Cyndi here...

In Spirit Awakened, Faith has attached a negative emotion to her coffee pot. Inside her kitchen, shoved in the corner and collecting dust, she simply ignores the machine. By refusing coffee, however, she’s also refusing to deal with her pent up feelings of betrayal. Or move ahead with her love life.

Meet Dr. Jake Mitchell. From their first meeting, something about Faith piqued his interest. When he drops by for a surprise visit, however, and finds her at the threshold ready to toss a coffee pot, price tag attached, he questions her motive. And doesn’t like her answer. Soon, he discovers she’s harboring an injury he’s determined to fix. In Jake’s words, Symbols, whether a loved one’s ring or an unused coffee pot, could stir emotions that sliced the heart and soul, that made one yearn for something more or less.”


Using Faith’s example, the sound of coffee percolating, rich aroma, dark roast’s steam wafting from a mug, or the memory of the hot drink as it fills the belly, share something you’ve attach either a positive or negative emotional response to.

One lucky commenter will be entered to win a $5.00 Amazon gift card. Leave your email address, please.

I’ll go first... A jar of shells sends my mind reeling back to memories of sand between my toes, the crisp pacific splashing against my calves, the sun’s heat pulsing across my back in soothing waves. Laughter and gulls. These are memories of happy times with family and friends.

Last Sunday I blogged about food and Francine Bryson’s delicious pie recipe featuring the name of a celebrity-- (See Bobbie Deen)

Now that I’ve gained 5 lbs from eating this pie, let’s turn today to Provence, France. In particular, Chateau Miraval, and take a look at some other celebrities.

Super celebrities Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie purchased this chateau for $60 million dollars.

Chateau Miraval sits on 1200 acres, so the couple decided to start making wine.
Not alone, of course, but with the help of Marc Perrin, well-known winemaker.

The result is a pink wine which resulted in high praise,

It’s aptly named:
Château Miraval Côtes de Provence rosé.

In the words of Wine Spectator, 2013:

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie have released their first wine, a 2012 rose from their Provence estate, Chateau Miraval. In a blind tasting of a flight of Provençal roses at Wine Spectator's New York office, the wine was refined and elegant, with pure flavors of dried red berry and tangerine, and a focused finish with flint and spice notes. It scored 90 points, or outstanding, on Wine Spectator's 100-point scale."

Unfortunately, this wine is sold out, but there’s always next year.


Posted by Mona Risk | 6:30 AM | , , | 2 comments »

Do you believe in dreams?  Not, dreams, or daydreams,  about the goals you hope to reach eventually, but real night dreams you are deep asleep.

You may remember your dreams when you wake up. You may totally forget them. Or you may just have a certain feeling about your dream.
Exhausted grandma sleeping while baby is wide-awake

I don’t dream every night or if I do I don’t always remember the dream. However when I wake up in the morning sometimes I have a premonition that my dream will come true. This type of sensitivity to dreams has scared the hell out of me when I became aware of it.

When I was in high school and later in college, I studied very hard. With all the material cluttering my mind I often dreamed about exam questions. The strange thing was that more often than not the questions I dreamed about were on the exam sheet. My classmates got into the habit of insisting I tell them what questions I dreamed of on the exam days and immediately went to brush up on the subject one last time.

Years ago, I dreamed of my great-grandmother who died a month before my wedding. In my dream, she was lying in bed, holding a sheet of paper and calling names. The first name she called was that of my dad, and then one of my uncles and then another. The terrible thing is that my father and uncles died in the order she called them.

Another time when my son was engaged, I had a dream five months before the wedding. In my dream, his fiancée was standing at the altar and wearing a lovely wedding dress, but she took it off and threw it on the floor. A week later, my son called to say his fiancée broke their engagement.

I can tell you many similar stories. I was in China, I dreamed that my mother was sick. I tried to call her, call my sister and email my friends. I finally learned that Mom was in the hospital.

Not all my dreams are about tragedies or death. When my daughter was pregnant, I dreamed she had a blonde baby girl with blue eyes. And she did.

I can’t explain why my dreams come true. Is that considered paranormal?
Sometimes, I am afraid to sleep because I am afraid of my own dreams. I can’t write paranormal stories. Paranormal in books is one thing, but in real life?

Does it happen to you? Did your dream ever come true?

How do you feel when you read or write paranormal romances?

I know you have all seen the U-Haul moving vans with the ad “An Adventure in Moving” on the trucks.  Though not in a U-Haul, I have been immersed in that Adventure.   The fine print reads that “adventure” does not always translate to “fun”.  An adventure can be an ordeal.  Unfortunately, my purchase, sale and relocation to my new home have been less than pleasant in most aspects.

We signed the contracts in late August, but for one reason or another, the closing had to be rescheduled several times, and I finally moved on September 9th from the city to a suburb about 8 miles down Texas 288.  The second ordeal was the move itself.  I was not at all pleased with my movers.  They could give the tortoise a run for his money in the slow department.  I had only a dining room table and china cabinet and bedroom (having sold most of the furniture with the condo) to move, but it took 5 hours!  In the Texas heat!  Granted, I had a lot of boxes, but…  All-Some Movers do not win my recommendation.  They also treated my fragile boxes like footballs.  I’m praying that my crystal and china are okay.

I love my new house, but I am giving her a little “facelift”.   I know it is always a mistake to try to live in a home you are renovating.   I might have stayed in a hotel, but I have a rather large and loveable cat to consider.  Spencer is very easy going, but he’s far too big to smuggle into a roadside inn.  So, here I am in the middle of chaos.  A couple more days, however, and it should be done.  Then I can actually straighten up (my clothes are in a heap on the living room rug), clean and settle in to watch my new TV.  Game of Thrones and Outlander, here I come!

The facelift includes new wood flooring in a rich hickory throughout, with the exception of the foyer, baths and kitchen, which are in tile.   The kitchen is a white marble-look shot with beige.   The baths are difficult to describe, but are called “Ginger”—not orange at all but tend a bit to the pinkish.   I’ll run pictures later.   The baths are the final touch, completed hopefully today and tomorrow.  Of course, they can only do one at the time because you are not supposed to walk on them for 24 hours.
Last night, I treated myself to dinner at Texas Roadhouse Grill—a small sirloin, salad and loaded baked potato.  I had to send the steak back once because it was overdone, but it was really good and I needed the energy, having neglected things like food during this Adventure.

It has been fun replacing the furniture.   I bought a slate leather sofa and huge entertainment center at The Dump.  The kitchen is large enough to accommodate a black bistro table with white leather stools.  My decorating plan for the kitchen is “wine”, and I ordered cute wooden plaques with wine bottle labels for one wall.  One plaque I must have!  “I cook with wine.  Sometimes I even put it in the food.”

Yesterday, my son took me to a used office furniture place.  I found a nice gray chair with colored squiggles in the fabric and a cherry filing cabinet with bookcase at a very reasonable price.
Soon (fingers crossed) I should be all settled in.  I plan to have a housewarming party.  You’re invited!

Have an excellent weekend!!

Good Monday morning, Jill! Is is hot where you are? It might as well be Summer here in Georgia.  Don't stand too near the fireplace.   
The Yellowblown™ Eruption Begins Today – New Release! ( Mary might be a day or 2 late. She can't count or read calendars!)

J. Hughey chose the release date of her new New Adult contemporary romance to correspond with the date of the eruption of the Yellowstone volcano in her story, an event that will turn her lead character’s world on its head as the series progresses. The first book, Eruption, gives a glimpse of Violet Perch’s college life and the unavoidable changes she endures when things get seriously messed up for the North American continent. If you didn’t know North America is a continent, you’ll learn a few more geeky facts while enjoying Violet’s story. Plus, keep reading to get a chance to win some swag!

Here’s the blurb for Eruption, which will be on sale for 99 cents for a short time:
I’m in the middle of the perfect college semester, hundreds of miles from Mom, with an awesome roomie and my freshman crush finally becoming a sophomore reality—Hotness! I’m figuring out calculus, I’ve got both hands on the handlebars and the wind of freedom in my hair. What on earth could slow my roll?

How about if the Yellowstone volcano erupts for the first time in 630,000 years, spewing a continuous load of ash (crap) all over North America? Think that’ll put a kink in my bicycle chain?

Make that kinks, plural, because here’s a scientific fact I’ll bet you didn’t know. Nothing ruins the perfect semester like a super caldera. Now that I’ve made you smarter today, maybe you can tell me how to keep my life cruising in the right direction—no to Mom, yes to roomie, double yes to Hotness!—during a global disaster?

My lame name is Violet and, in the interest of full disclosure, I’m not hanging from the side of a cinder cone on the last page of this trauma, but there’s definitely more to come. Unless, of course, humans become extinct and then there’s not. Duh.

Eruption is on sale for 99 cents. It’ll jump up to $2.99 soon so grab your copy now! http://www.amazon.com/Eruption-YellowblownTM-Book-J-Hughey-ebook/dp/B00MRHAIRO

Enjoy an excerpt from the day the eruption starts:
“You’re starting to freak me out,” I said. Boone looked like he was going to tell me someone had died, but he didn’t know anyone in my family, and surely the Dean of Students would not give him the responsibility of passing on bad news after three weeks of talking.
“Sorry,” he said. “I can’t decide if I’m freaked out or not.” He took a deep breath. “Yellowstone is erupting.”
I stared at him, not a flicker of comprehension illuminating my dim-bulb mind. Nothing. “Yellowstone? The place with the, umm, geysers?” Obviously I’d heard of Yellowstone, never been there, not sure I could place it on a map in the murky part of the U.S. between where I lived and Hollywood.
“Yeah. Yellowstone sits over a hotspot that’s been around for millions of years.”
“Instead of steaming it’s now erupting? As in lava erupting?” We’d covered igneous rocks in a very general way already so I knew hot liquefied rock below the ground was called magma and, when it erupted, became lava.
“Dr. Potter says nobody knows what it’s doing. It blew this morning. I mean explosively blew. All the local sensors went offline. Satellite pictures show a big brown cloud of dust. Like two hundred miles across.”
Boone’s voice shook a fraction. I put my hand on his forearm. He sat back so he could hold it in his.
I asked, “Do you have friends out there, or family?”
“Not close. Dr. Potter knows I’m from Nebraska. He asked me where—made me point to it on a map. He said my family might want to stockpile supplies, or better yet, leave.” He paused, prompting me to scoot to the edge of my seat. “My house is nine hundred miles away from Yellowstone, Violet.”
“Are you serious?”
“He says if it does anything close to what it’s done in the past, thirty percent of the U.S. is pretty well screwed.”
I rifled through my bag to find my tablet. “Show me,” I said. “I need to see a map or something.”
“C’mon,” he said. He took me to Dr. Potter’s office. The professor ignored us. He jabbed his finger at his cell phone to enter a text message. The screen of his laptop glowed with a cascade of open program windows, and his iPad bonged with an incoming email tone. His finger did not pause when Boone led me to an ancient roller-shade map of the US.
“Yellowstone is here. Dr. Potter drew this red circle this morning.”
That’s not coming off any time soon, I thought as I studied the thick line of scarlet Sharpie.
“The last eruption basically obliterated everything within this oval.”
“Six hundred thirty thousand years ago,” Dr. Potter muttered. His trendy rectangular glasses sat askew on his nose. He swept his hand toward his laptop’s screen in a disgusted now-look-what-you’ve done gesture. I circled around his desk to see images more current than the one offered by the cartographic fossil on the wall.
A dark mess of chocolate pudding plopped in the midst of the whipped topping clouds of a satellite loop. The mass burgeoned over the northwestern U.S., dry pudding mix edges caught and swept east by the prevailing winds.
Anyone with a grandpa who blares Weather Watcher on the TV all day knows weather moves east.
Apparently, crap shot into the air by Yellowstone moves east, too.


About The Author
J. Hughey knows what a girl wants. Independence. One or two no-matter-what-happens friends. A smokin’ hot romance. A basic understanding of geological concepts. Huh? Okay, maybe not every girl is into geology, but J. Hughey is, and in the Yellowblown™ series she combines her passion for a timeless love story with her interest in geeky stuff to help Violet Perch get a life, despite an ongoing global catastrophe.

J. Hughey also writes historical romance as Jill Hughey.

If you want a chance to win some Eruption swag—your choice of a necklace, bracelet or bookmark with cover and series charms, sign up for J. Hughey’s newsletter before September 27. http://www.jillhughey.com/contact

You can find out more about J. Hughey on the web.
Website:  www.jillhughey.com
Twitter: www.twitter.com/jillhughey

I Dream of Bobby Deen Peanut Butter Pie

Whoever came up with the term, “Easy as pie”, clearly never attempted to make a pie. Especially a fruit pie.

But today’s blog is about a talented pie baker. Hailing from Pickens, SC, Francine Bryson recently published her first book, “Blue Ribbon Baking From a Redneck Kitchen,” after finaling in CBS’s “The American Baking Competition.”

Before you conjure up an image of a redneck being cast as an extra in the movie, “Deliverance,” check out Francine’s definition:
“A redneck is laid back, lives off the land, hunts and fishes. Don’t take life too seriously. It’s country. It’s a way of life.”

Interestingly, one of the recipes in Francine’s cookbook appeared to her in a dream about Bobby Deen. He’s the son of TV chef Paula Deen.

The following recipe from Francine’s book is aptly named: “I Dream of Bobby Deen Peanut Butter Pie.”
Spoiler alert---you’ll need to start your diet tomorrow.

2 1/2 cups sweetened shredded coconut
1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted
1/4 C heavy cream
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

2 cups heavy cream
3/4 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 8 oz. package cream cheese at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Toast coconut on baking sheet until evenly browned—10-16 minutes. Cool
Mix the toasted coconut with the butter and press into a 10 inch, deep-dish pie pan. Set in fridge 20 minutes.

Heat cream in saucepan until warm, Remove from heat and add chocolate chips, stirring until melted. Spread chocolate over coconut crust and refrigerate 15 minutes.

Whip heavy cream and confectioner’s sugar with electric mixer until stiff peaks. Reserve 1 cup for garnish.

Whip cream cheese and sugar in separate bowl with electric mixer until fluffy. Add peanut butter and mix until blended. Fold remaining whipped cream into cream cheese mixture with rubber spatula. Pour into pie crust and chill an hour.
Top with reserved whipped cream.


Me And My Best Friend

Who would of thought that my best friend would live thousands of miles away in another country. Not me. I met Lyn on the internet, but we had an instant connection that being a world away couldn't change.
Writing gave me a lot of gifts, not much money, but other gifts. I joined my local Romance Writers chapter and met a group of fun wonderful people, who will stay in my heart for the rest of my life. I never liked groups of women before. They seemed to always have that high school mind set, where there are cliques. But, authors, well they are another breed entirely. Maybe it's the common thread we share? Writing is a difficult endeavor, there is no guarantee you will get published. We all want that big one. A New York Times bestseller!
For me that is not as important as the friends I have made. Honest! Every once in awhile someone will tell me they loved my books. Now that is as good as being on the A list to me. In ten years no one will know if I was on that list. But, the person who read my story and liked it, well they will  remember me, hopefully, if the story meant anything to them, they will remember me and it forever.

Lyn is like an adorable little pixie.Her bright red hair and dancing eyes, coupled with a tender heart, touched me. We have taken two trips to Ohio to spend time together. It's uncanny, she knows what I am thinking before I say it. I can look at her and know what is in her heart. We both love horses. She has had several, I was not so lucky. But, we share that feeling that most little girls grow up with, 'must love horses'. As well as all other creatures. We share things every day, and though she is a million miles away, she is as close as an email or skype. My only regret is that we can't see each other in person. She always makes me smile, and we could have so much fun if she was closer. Her accent is wonderful, and boy does she love tea. Lyn just lost her little Jack Russel terrier, and I share her pain. I have loved and lost several pets, but Lyn assures me they are waiting over the Rainbow Bridge for us, running around an having a terrific time in doggie heaven. I hope they are.
So my advise to anyone who is interested is this. Never pass up a chance to make a friend. They are worth their weight in gold and I wouldn't trade her for her the gold, ever.

The point is, never sit home and wait for life to come to you. Happiness and good friends don't knock on your door and invite themselves in. You have to take chances. If you don't, imagine what you could miss in life, even from thousands of miles away...

Book Talk With Barbara Barth: Haunting Tales of Spirit Lake: An Anthology. Spook...:     Buy On Kindle       The Perfect Halloween Read!     An anthology of spooky, strange and haunting tales set in a fict...

Book Talk With Barbara Barth: Haunting Tales of Spirit Lake: An Anthology. Spook...:     Buy On Kindle       The Perfect Halloween Read!     An anthology of spooky, strange and haunting tales set in a fict...


Posted by Josie | 1:48 PM | 3 comments »

What’s up with Drones? Since many writers and avid readers enjoy Amazon’s Kindle on a daily basis and agree that Amazon changed the entire reading industry, few will dispute that Amazon is on the cutting edge of new ideas and technology. Aptly named “Prime Air”, Amazon’s drones will carry and deliver 5 lb. packages to consumers’ homes in less than 30 minutes. Yes, leave it to Amazon to have researched the fact that 85% of their customers buy items weighing less than 5 lbs. However, don’t spend hours waiting by your front door for your package to be delivered. Amazon’s CEO, Jeff Bezos, recently stated that drone technology is 7-10 years away. Oh. What’s a drone? It’s an unmanned aircraft flying 50 miles an hour. Not to be outdone, Google is also researching drones by their recent acquisition of Nest. Their drone project is aptly named Project Wing. Google’s secretive X lab has also produced Glass, computerized eyewear, and is also developing self-driving cars and sensor-enabled contact lenses. Getting back to the subject of Drones, you don’t have to wait 7 years to see one. Although no one I personally know has purchased a drone, those taking afternoon tea with Martha Stewart are familiar with her drone. She uses hers for “hiking, or taking photographs of her expansive properties,” although I’m uncertain whether she’d trust her drone to fly porcelain teacups from her kitchen to her front porch. While Martha’s enjoying afternoon tea, what about you and me? Good news! Drones are available at $299 and can be purchased at Verizon, Barnes and Noble, Best Buy, and, yes, Amazon. Those who are familiar with my frugal shopper blogs may be looking for a bargain but there’s none to be had as of yet. The most popular drone is the Parrot AR. These drones can be sent up to 100 feet in the air and record 15 minutes of video while rotating at a 360 degree angle. Great for realtors offering an aerial view of a property, or architects, or farmers. Or anyone. BTW, mastering all the knobs and buttons on your drone may take a few hours and will require a steady hand. But, hey, it’s another useful innovation and I’m adding a drone to my Christmas wish list. Too bad it doesn’t change a light bulb at the top of my garage quite yet, but what’s another 7-10 years? I’ll just sip my afternoon tea in the meantime and wait.

Don’t sweat the small stuff.

I'm not sure who first penned those words. The slogan has been around for years. I only wish I had heard it when I was in my teens and early twenties. Back then, I fretted over almost everything: am I tall enough, thin enough, pretty enough, smart enough, rich enough, popular . . . the list was endless.

However, while my early years were challenging, my yearnings were no different from most young females. I wanted to be happy, loved, and respected. I wanted to know that I was worthy, that I mattered.

So, like most humans, I searched for a way to stand out in the crowd. My claim to fame was running. My passion for the sport started in middle school. While my five sisters learned how to care for a home or shop for the latest fashions, I spent my free time practicing sprints and ten mile runs. Nothing was more exhilarating than crossing the finish line in first place. This dedication lead to a spot on both my high school’s cross-country and track & field teams. I was even awarded a college scholarship, which I didn’t accept because of family drama (I’d leave that story for another blog posting). 
I choose another path for my life. I joined the Unites States Army. This surprised everyone who knew me. I was rather shy. But a week into Basic Training at Fort Gordon, I realized I’d made the right decision.  My quest for boldness had paid off. I thrived in this orderly environment. It gave me a sense of control, something my life lacked. When my training to become a Telecommunications Specialist finished, I went to my first duty station. The Army’s philosophy, Be All That You Can Be, really inspired me, so I didn’t waste any time joining the post’s track team. I even set a record in the two hundred meter hurdles. My love for the sport led me to mentoring a local youth track team. This was an experience I still cherish today. The teen girls were considered underprivileged, but boy, did they have heart and spirit. 

Little did I know, sharing my gift changed me forever.  At the time I wasn’t aware of anything grand happening. I was just living by instinct. Going about my day, day after day, hoping for the best like the rest of mankind. But I learned what it felt like to help and inspire other people. And I can honestly tell you it’s as wonderful as crossing a marathon finish line in first place.

Today, thirty years later, my race still continues. Only now that I’m older and much wiser, I look inward for approval. I no longer chase pettiness or doubt my decisions. I trust my instincts and allow a higher power to help and guide me. Even better, I live with an awareness that has taught me how silly it is to obsess about life’s challenges. When things get tough, I stop, take a breath, and remember the shy young woman who boldly left home and entered a world filled with nothing but unknowns. Then, I smile because I’m fine. No, not just fine. I’m thriving, happy, successful, and proud. I’m a mom, a wife, an author, a divine soul doing what she loves.

Every path I’ve taken in life led me to where I am at this moment. There were twists and turns and I had to backtrack and start over a few times, but it was the right path for me to learn and grow.

And just like me, every path you have taken or will take is the right path for you.

What revelations have you experienced along your journey?